Few campaign issues are as divisive as immigration.
We’ve heard Donald Trump disparage Mexican immigrants as “criminals” and “rapists,” been inundated with talk of “amnesty” and “border security,” and listened to candidates debate whether the United States should spend billions of dollars on a border wall.
Often it can feel like the political discussion about immigration is taking place in a faceless space.
That’s why the presidential candidates should take some time out during the holidays to get to know the story of 8-year-old Jose Ansaldo, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico whose brief life story blows a big hole in Trump’s assertion that “when Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending us their best.”
Ansaldo is the son of migrant farm workers in California. He’s the subject of an upcoming documentary, “East of Salinas”, which is scheduled to air on PBS on Dec. 28.
He’s also a math whiz.
Here’s a brief description of the film:
“East of Salinas takes to the heart of California’s “Steinbeck Country,” the Salinas Valley to meet a bright boy and his dedicated teacher — both sons of migrant farm workers. With parents who are busying working long hours in the fields, third grader Jose Ansaldo often turns to his teacher, Oscar Ramos, for guidance. But Jose is undocumented; he was born in Mexico. Like many other migrant children, he is beginning to understand the situation — and the opportunities that may be lost to him through no fault of his own.”
Ansaldo excels at math even though he faces the challenge that his parents don’t speak English. “I have to do my homework alone,” he says. “But I learn more when I try by myself.”
Fortunately for him, he’s still oblivious to the sometimes virulent tone surrounding the debate on immigration, and he offers a hopeful message beyond his years.
“There’s always a chance to do what you want to do as long as you don’t give up,” he says.