Friday, February 10, 2017

Alien Registration

The latest news on Immigration & Customs Enforcement raids, the deportation of a Phoenix mother who has been in the US since she was 14 and overall negative developments over the past three weeks have me thinking once again about my own immigrant family and the challenges they faced living in the US as resident aliens. I have written before about my great-grandparents, Plutarco Campuzano and Manuela Portillo. They came to the US at a young age, Plutarco at 14, Manuela at 18. Back in May 2013, I wrote about the contents of Manuela's alien case file. I do not think I have shared images from this file since that post.
US National Archives. Alien Registration, 25 Oct 1940.
I am still struck by the fact that Manuela arrived on foot with her mother Teresa and just $20 in 1922, that they made their way to Tucson, with the help of family and community and settled into a long and productive life in Arizona. Like other resident aliens, Manuela had to check in periodically with the Immigration and Naturalization Service after the passage of the Alien Registration Act of 1940. The form below shows the verification of her arrival in 1922. I am leaving out other images that include her thumb print and a signature page.
US National Archives. 15 Sept 1952.
The Alien Registration file included a photo, probably taken in 1952 with the verification. My Granny looked a lot like Manuela in her later years.
US National Archives. Manuela Portillo.
Manuela had nine children, all born in the US as first generation Americans. It is heartbreaking to think about what might have happened if Manuela had been deported on one of those check-ins with INS.

The deportation of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos from Phoenix this week also makes me think of another woman connected to the Campuzano family who was deported, Jesus Anaya. Jesus was able to eventually visit family in the US, but she remained in Mexico. It is still early in Lupita Garcia's case, and maybe her situation will be resolved soon. In the meantime there are ways to provide some support through the Puente Movement in Arizona.

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