Lisa Sanchez and Marsha Gonzalez by Kinsee Morlan
Eric Wolff, David Rolland and I just completed CityBeat‘s next cover story. It’s called “Crossings” and the concept is simple. How/why/when did people from Mexico get here? Yes, there are stories of crossing illegally by foot, but there are a lot of other stories, some of people who crossed the legal way, which are just as complicated and trying as the famed desert tales. The issue comes out on Wednesday, but below is a story that I wrote then ended up cutting. It didn’t really fit, but it’s interesting in it’s own right:
Inside Rosebud, an army surplus store near the trolley tracks in Palm City, Lisa Sanchez and Marsha Gonzalez talk about spirituality while helping a fairly constant stream of customers.
“Do you believe the devil can die?” asks Gonzalez with a raised brow.
This starts the two on a long philosophical debate that appears to be part of a larger, ongoing conversation.
If you ask the aunt/niece pair about immigration, you’ll get the same sort of extended and thoughtful answer. Both are of Mexican decent and are first generation U.S. citizens.
The women’s families obtained permanent residency the legal way, either through work visas or sponsorships, so Gonzalez and Sanchez stand firmly against illegal immigration.
“My parents did it legally,” says Gonzalez, “Why can’t everyone else?”
Sanchez, a single mother of two children, interjects.
“But it’s almost better to be an illegal,” she says. “I’m a single mom and I need health insurance, but it’s impossible.”
“I’m in the same situation,” interrupts Gonzalez, “I don’t have kids, but I came out of a divorce and needed insurance. In both occasions, we had doctors tell us that if you’re an illegal alien you get free insurance.”
“So what do you do?” asks Gonzalez. “Do you go in and say ‘yes, I’m an illegal alien.’ and get health insurance but get arrested for fraud later, I mean, what do you do?”
“Thank god for Planned Parenthood,” answers Sanchez.
“I mean, our families did it the right way,” continues Gonzalez, “so we could be here the right way.”
“But again, it’s almost better to come the wrong way,” says Sanchez.