Palo Alto: Bay Area immigrants talk about paths to US, citizenship

By Jacqueline Lee

Daily News Staff Writer

PALO ALTO — At age 12, Lalo Mendez crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in the trunk of a sedan with four others and reunited with relatives in Napa.

“My mom and I left our home state of Michoacan because we wanted a better life,” Mendez said. “Working in the fields day in and day out we were barely getting by.”

Mendez will transfer in September from community college to UC Santa Cruz to study political science. He eventually wants to work in farmers’ rights advocacy.

The 26-year-old will share his immigration experience on Wednesday as part of “Walk of DREAMers,” a storytelling event where six Bay Area residents will discuss how they came to the United States as children and want to attain a legal pathway to citizenship.

The storytellers all have temporary resident status and can work because of President Barack Obama’s executive action on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Each 10-minute performance piece was crafted under the guidance of Francisco Jimenez, a memoir author and Santa Clara University literature professor, and Elliot Margolies of the nonprofit Midpen Media Center.

Jimenez came to America in the 1940s as a child and worked alongside his parents in farm fields.

The free event is from 7 to 9 p.m. in the El Palo Alto Room of the Mitchell Park Community Center, 3700 Middlefield Road. RSVP at

Midpen, Palo Alto Library and California Humanities organized and paid for the event.

“Walk of DREAMers” is part of a project called Made into America, which archives immigrants’ stories to document the role of immigrants in U.S. history.

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