Immigration Issue

I recently was surprised to see an old cross country buddy named Miguel Aparicio in an issue of Runner’s World talking about his life as an “illegal immigrant”.  The article was titled “Liberty and Justice“.  Thinking back to those days, I know we had undocumented immigrants going to high school, but it wasn’t like a topic of discussion that we actively engaged.  As a student, I felt, if they are going to school, and getting an education that is great, no big deal.

I went to two high schools I might add, the first being Camelback High, on the east side of Phoenix and the second Alhambra on the west side of Phoenix.  Both schools, had a tough reputation, but it didn’t really matter to those of us going to school there.  I had many friends from the cross-country team, one was Miguel.  He was the sweetest, nicest person who ran.  Every time we had a meet, he would be cheering for everyone, even our last runners in.  He cared about people, even ones he didn’t hardly know, we were all part of a team, and that is all that mattered.  I could see now, how he could be a coach in the future.

Miguel only ran one year at Camelback and then transferred to Carl Hayden.  Many of the boys who ran on the Carl Hayden team were just like Miguel, they were great runners.  I didn’t harbor any bad feelings for him transferring, what was best for Miguel was good for me.  In fact when we did see each other at meets competing against each other, Miguel still had a hug for me.

So, we managed to get through high school and go on to junior college running, after that, I left Arizona to go to Haskell.  Miguel and one of his Carl Hayden teammates Carlos Borja would go on to coach the boy’s team at my last high school Alhambra and take them to the top: State Champions.  This, I know was incredible.  In my four years as a high school runner, I never was a state champion, but I competed my hardest every year to qualify, which I did all four years, but never a state champion.

I was amazed at what they had both done, but then, last year 2009, Miguel was stopped by the Immigration task force and was about to be deported to Mexico.  Because of his status, he was let go by Alhambra as an assistant coach and they were about to let go of his friend Carlos because, he was standing up for Miguel’s right to be there.  Carlos Borja put his own job on the line for Miguel and all the runners knew this.  Alhambra administration let the team know they were looking for another coach but they, the runners, would not run for anyone else and were protesting the actions of the school.   I want to add that not only were these young men putting their season on the line, their number one runner, Jorje Martinez was the returning individual State Champion, and he was putting his own future on the line.  That to me, was the integrity taught to them, by both Miguel and Carlos and it says great things about their lives in the future.

Alhambra however let Carlos Borja stay on as a coach, but not Miguel.  The runners went back to the State meet and won. They also had the individual State Champion on their team and as the story reads that “Miguel was right there watching them”.

Miguel is more than likely going to be deported to Mexico.  I really wish people could see the good that immigration brings us.  It is the determination, the spirit and will  that has added to this country’s original indigenous people’s culture. Somewhere along the line, the original immigrants who first came in 1492 have forgotten that good will that was bestowed upon them and being selfish is the order of the day.   I hope Miguel if you somehow read this, please know I wish you the best, and know your efforts have not been in vain, those kids will go on and remember what you did for them.


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One Response to “Immigration Issue”

  1. miguel Aparicio Says:

    HI . I read the aricle and I really want to said that Thanks for your Support and I just keep coaching another team. I be fine getting ready for whattever happens.

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