Last week, my program partner, De Pisa y Corre en Imagen Televisión, Poncho Vera, asked the public something difficult to answer if it weren’t for the anonymity of the networks: Would you accept a migrant to live in your home? The possible answer left me thinking, in my home, in the spaces, in the time, in the possibilities, in who would that person be, even in my story. It was hard for me to assume that my answer would be: probably not, in the same way that I would not invite a person I do not know, regardless of their immigration status, to sleep at my house. But the answer leaves me uncomfortable, I come from a family of migrants, my husband also comes from a family of migrants. What we are today in this home that I refuse to share is the result not only of those who left everything in search of a better life, but also the result of the generosity they found in so many strangers in Mexico.

Mary’s father was a persecuted leftist politician who had to escape from Franco’s Spain, she arrived here around the age of 16, her father dedicated himself to teaching, while they rented a small utility room. As if he knew about my dilemma, he told me: since there are no two in Mexico, I will always be grateful to him. A neighbor found out that she and her mother knew how to sew, so she looked for them and gave her the keys to her house: I have everything here, threads, fabrics, take everything you need. My husband’s grandmother is about to turn 99 in a couple of months, she still cries when she remembers that story, and when she listens to the mariachis sing Mexico Lindo y Querido.

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My dad came here when he was 12 years old, he was born at the end of World War II, unlike Mary’s story, he was escaping extreme poverty. He loved to tell us the story of his rag ball, the only belonging with which he crossed the ocean aboard a large ship, the ball ended up in the sea, and now it literally arrived, empty-handed. After overcoming a period of nationalist resentment thanks to an enthusiastic fifth-grade history teacher, and having understood that my mother was not Malinche (I know, that concept was also wrong), I dared to ask her a question that from my patriot personality constructed by the books of the SEP managed to imagine how uncomfortable: which country do you love more? My father did not hesitate to answer: To Mexico, Mexico has given me everything I have, my family, my job, a home. My father was a Mexican with little Spanish, he lost his accent when he understood that it only brought ridicule and it was more convenient not to have it if it was about charging for the pillows that he sewed and sold in installments.

I learned to love this country through the eyes of others, and most of those others were not born here. Do we still have the capacity to be that country for those who pass through here today? In recent years we have not been so, not even for those who are born here, once again, the number of Mexicans who are forced to leave their place of origin looking for an opportunity for their own has grown.

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The National Guard, the much-esteemed National Migration Institute, and the hollow words of President López Obrador at the UN all ring in our ears as we watch that Mexico fade that remains only in memories.

Again my partner’s question comes back to my mind, and it crosses me above all because it is the racist answer given by those who believe that migrants would not even have to pass through here. Would you let them stay at your house?

Twitter: @PamCerdeira

Mexican journalist, host, broadcaster, writer and communicator

Guest column

Mexican journalist, host, broadcaster, writer and communicator. He hosts the program “A Todo Terreno” on MVS Radio. He has written for various publications and worked in different spaces on radio and television.

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