Remount Road contains a small enclave of Mexican immigrants pursuing their version of El Sueño Americano: The American Dream. Many whoâve settled in the area come from the city of Veracruz, Mexico's largest port on the Gulf of Mexico. According to U.S. Census figures, the local Hispanic population consists of nearly 8,000 men, women, and children. Some come here to work for a few years, make as much money as they can, and then return home with their hard-earned fortunes. And some decide to stay, assimilating into the culture, sending their children to school, and becoming part of the American fabric. As debate rages in Congress over what to do about illegal immigration, the American economy continues to rely on immigrants — legal or not — to perform a wide variety of working class duties, from picking tomatoes to working construction. On Mon. May 1, immigrants and activists coordinated a massive nationwide boycott — "A Day Without Immigrants" — designed to illustrate their impact on the economy. Most in the Remount Road neighborhood knew of the boycott, and a majority of the businesses closed for the day to take part in a moment of solidarity among an overlooked and underappreciated segment of society.
A Hopeful Future
Carmen is 22 and works in a Remount Road bakery. She has been in America for three years and never wants to leave. "Mexico is very expensive. I had no hopes there. But here, I can dream of muchas cosas — many things." She is married to a fellow Mexican, and they dream of one day opening a business here.
Money To Mexico
Hector came to America with his brother one year ago in hopes of bettering their lives back in Veracruz. Every month, he sends money home to his wife and daughter and lives as conservatively as possible here. He believes it will take him two or three years to save up enough money to be able to return to Veracruz and open his own butcher shop.
Nestor is 18 and has been in America with his entire family since he was 10. He works three jobs and has no time for girlfriends. He shares his earnings with his family and likes the things he can buy with the money he has left.
Jose loads up on sweet treats at La Tapatia Bakery, which caters to their Mexican clientele with homemade cakes and pastries, as well as Latin groceries.
Old Dreams And New
Juan, who was a truck driver in Mexico, came here to play semiprofessional baseball. He decided to stay, and now installs sheet rock. He prefers stilts over ladders when he is plastering.
Hot TamalesAida and Ingrid run Las Jarochas Taco Stand. They begin cooking at two in the afternoon so the food will be ready by 6 p.m., when they open. Serving out of a truck parked on Remount Road, the ladies sell about 50 meals each evening. Everything is homemade, including the fresh juice served out of a giant glass jar that sits on the counter. One day itâs pineapple, the next it may be cantaloupe; whatever is fresh, ripe, and available.
Big SacrificesFlavio sends money home to his family every week. He works in construction and has a wife and two children he hasnât seen in four years.