When I hear politicians talk about “undocumented immigrants” and “make America great again,” I often think of my mother.
She was not an immigrant. She was born a US citizen in Caguas, Puerto Rico, in 1928.
She came to New York City in 1944 at age 16, and went to work immediately in the garment district, where she was paid twenty cents an hour.
She worked in the garment district for 23 years, and saved every penny she could, so that I could go to college.
She is gone now…and from a greater distance, I finally realize, that she dedicated most of her life to me.
It is a debt that I will never be able to repay.
One day, in her last few years, she sat at an old Singer sewing machine, and showed me what she did for 23 years.
I will never measure up to my mother. Not many people can. But it is her, and people like her, that make America great.
If I ever meet her again, I will make sure and tell her.