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My Neighbor Hector (Church & Society)

by Ed White
January 27, 2022

For many, the words inscribed at Lady Liberty represent a false hope to migrants. However, there are victories from time to time that encourage us to keep pushing forward.

I will take this opportunity to lift up a friend of mine and his accomplishments: Spc. Hector Barajas of the 82nd Airborne. Hector was born in Fresnillo, Zacatecas in 1977. When Hector was just 7 years old, he and his family made their way to Gardena, California, just outside of Compton. It was there that he grew up. Hector, just like his immediate family, was undocumented. And just like all immigrants in the US, he made a life for himself. As part of his new life, he attended school, gave himself scraped knees, suffered things way beyond his control, endured racism and xenophobia, and he established his identity as an American.

Hector enlisted in the US Army immediately after graduating from High School. He gave six years of his life to the Army, before he was honorably discharged in 2001. After returning to the United States, Hector believed that he was a citizen.