Dream prolonged: Idaho man fights off deportation, vows to better community that taught him success
Galo Albor left a tiny town in central Mexico 12 years ago. He crossed the border into the United States with nine of his siblings. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
Galo Albor left a tiny town in central Mexico 12 years ago. He crossed the border into the United States with nine of his siblings.
“I’m from Mexico, but this is my home,” the 25-year-old Albor said. “People ask you and say: 'Hey, how has your life changed?' It’s changed dramatically for me.”
Albor grew up dirt-poor on dirt streets, kicking around anything neighborhood kids could fashion into a soccer ball.
“Going to school,” Albor said, “getting beat up sometimes for no reason.”
He said he left that school, his parents and his country to pursue a better life – a reverie our nation forced him to earn beginning on his very first day in Idaho.
“It was five in the morning,” Albor said. “They told me: ‘Let’s go to work.’ Sun, 100 degrees, getting paid $7 an hour.”
Albor worked in the Gem state’s fields during the summer and made nothing less than honor roll in its schools for the rest of the year. Four-year colleges rejected him due to his immigrant status so he went to community college, graduated and now studies business and economics at Boise State. There, he pursues a PHD in urban economics and still worries every day about his new country sending him back to the one in which he started.
But thanks to Pres. Obama, Albor and more than 5,000 other immigrants living in Idaho expected, Wednesday, to receive a special two-year exemption.
“It’s our first victory – major victory – in the last 10 years,” Nampa Dream Act workshop moderator Christian Magallon said.
The policy allows as many as 1.7 million immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children to apply for a temporary, two-year extension to their stay. An applicant must be younger than 31, have arrived in the U.S. before they turned 16, lived here for the past five years and prove they're either a student or have served in the military.
The policy’s critics might call applicants freeloaders.
“Saying: Hey,” Albor mimicked, “send him back.”
Albor admitted he had the taxes of Idaho's Americans citizens to thank for much of his schooling, but he said – as long as he stays here – that investment doesn't have to go to waste.
“Let’s get those dividends back,” Albor said. “They don’t look at it that way. And that’s how I look at it: With my education, I want to help the community to be a better place to live.”
Diversity breeds competitions breeds prosperity, Albore said. The same prosperity he left Mexico to build, nurture and now spread.
So, we asked Albor if he considered himself an American.
“Yes, of course,” he said. “Everybody’s American. Depends on the love you have for the land you are in.”
The luster of the American Dream bruised badly in the last five years. Native-born, multi-generational Americans now struggle just to attain the same prosperity as their parents.
But, Wednesday, in a town hall in Nampa, we found traces of the legend erected by the Mayflower and Ellis Island, whispers of evidence the dream had faded, but still lived in one man’s journey from a dirty Mexican town, kept alive in Idaho’s dairies and cornfields and – finally – realized.
“For me,” Albor said, “yes. I’m dreaming.”