Mothers Day: My Mom Was An Undocumented Immigrant

The original story of how my maternal grandparents and their six pre-teen daughters got into the USA in 1906 has been obscured over the years. As I vaguely remember, she told me they escaped their destroyed Russian ghetto village, crossed several borders illegally to France, and worked on a cattle boat to get to England.

Then they hopped a ferry to Ireland and spent all their remaining money to get aboard a freighter and slept in the ship’s hold for two weeks. They slipped off at night to illegally enter New York. Then, they didn’t march around New York waving Russian flags. They learned English, became U.S. citizens and worked in the clothing industry, starting at 50¢ an hour. Thanks for everything, Mom, and somewhere up there I hope you’re being honored today.

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