Garcia’s Fight Shapes California Law

photo by Karen Laslo

by Leslie Layton

Sergio C. Garcia came to California packed onto the bed of a Chevy pick-up. It was July 4, 1994, and the 17-year-old was one of eight undocumented Mexican immigrants hidden under a hard plastic cover as they crossed the U.S. border under a blazing desert sun.

Garcia prayed out loud as fellow travelers passed out from the heat. He was sweat-drenched and seething at his father, who had asked him to make the perilous journey, to relocate for the second time to a country where he would be labeled “alien” and face the barriers associated with having crossed, without a visa, the world’s most frequently-crossed international border.

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