Pasatiempo - - In Other Words -

Ashes of the dream in Phoenix As young new­ly­weds, Lucy and Marco be­gan to make a life for them­selves. He got a job wash­ing cars, and she even­tu­ally joined him at the car wash. A few years later they had a baby daugh­ter. Soon, they bought a mo­bile home in cen­tral Phoenix and were tak­ing va­ca­tions to Dis­ney­land and Colorado. Marco had worked his way up to man­ager of the car wash. A “Sup­port Our Troops” mag­net dec­o­rated their re­frig­er­a­tor.

Known for her math skills, Viri was a mem­ber of a na­tion­ally rec­og­nized ro­bot­ics team at a Phoenix high school. She went on to be­come an hon­ors stu­dent at Ari­zona State Uni­ver­sity. Viri, like Lucy and Marco, ap­peared to be liv­ing the Amer­i­can dream, ex­cept they were not — Amer­i­cans, that is. They were un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants. And the dream doesn’t al­ways work out. Lucy and Marco were ar­rested in a June 2009 im­mi­gra­tion raid at the car wash. Viri, whose mother brought her to the United States when she was 9, lost a merit-based schol­ar­ship af­ter res­i­dents in Ari­zona voted to deny state­funded schol­ar­ships and in-state tu­ition breaks to un­doc­u­mented stu­dents.

Lucy, Viri, and Marco are among the peo­ple pro­filed in award-win­ning jour­nal­ist Terry Greene Ster­ling’s book, Il­le­gal: Life and Death in Ari­zona’s Im­mi­gra­tion War Zone (Lyons Press, 2010). In her book, Ster­ling cap­tures the of­ten-for­got­ten hu­man side in the con­tentious im­mi­gra­tion de­bate, while also talk­ing to some of the prom­i­nent fig­ures on the other side of the is­sue, like Joe Ar­paio, the self-de­scribed tough­est sher­iff in Amer­ica. Ster­ling vis­its Santa Fe on Sun­day, Jan. 9, at 9:30 a.m. for a read­ing at the United Church of Santa Fe (1804 Ar­royo Chamiso, 988-3295). She will also an­swer ques­tions and show short videos of some of the peo­ple she met dur­ing her re­search.

— Steven Talbot

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