Each year, the dream of a better life compels millions of people to leave their home countries and settle in another.
Then, workday by workday, they endeavored to escape the poverty and fear they left behind. Like so many before and since, they sought a better life in America.
Following the path to freedom
Garza’s parents came to the United States from Mexico with only a fourth grade education. Their family was poor when Garza was very young. His parents, he, and his siblings all worked in nearby fields.
They lived in a house the size of a toolshed, but the family never took welfare. My father “didn’t want to depend on anyone or lose his dignity,” said Garza. “He is a proud and noble man.”
Unbeknownst to Garza, his mother and father were saving every bit of money they could. They soon started buying property, including a motel.
The family worked together to restore the motel while still working the fields. The lodging business prospered, and Garza’s parents continued to buy, restore, and sell property.
Using their own hands, the family climbed its way out of poverty.
“One day, [my father] and my mother retired with enough money to live comfortably for the rest of their lives,” Garza said. “My parents’ American dream had become a reality. My family and I have succeeded by following the path to freedom.”
Is the path to freedom and opportunity vanishing?
Garza’s father said the family “made it” with three things: “God, good credit, and freedom — liberty to work.”
Garza says he fears the path his parents took “is on the verge of vanishing.”
The U.S. government, Garza said, has grown so powerful and broad in scope that it is beginning to resemble the tyrannical and corrupt systems his parents and other immigrants fled.
As LIBRE president, Garza works with immigrant communities to preserve the liberty and opportunity that helped generations of migrants before them build a life in the United States.
“Advancing economic freedom is the best way to improve economic well-being, especially for those at the bottom,” the Garza said.
Updating our immigration system so more people can share the dream
The path Garza’s parents took also is in danger of vanishing because, after years of neglect, the United States no longer has a clear, legal immigration process that welcomes immigrants and their children to join communities, find jobs, and enroll in schools.
The visa system is antiquated — out of step with economic demand — which means decent, industrious people see no alternative but to risk their lives to cross the border under the cover of night.
That brutal system sharply contrasts with most Americans’, and most immigrants’, vision of the United States.
- More than three-quarters of Americans have said they believe immigration is good for the country.
- Seventy-one percent want Congress to find a way to welcome undocumented immigrants who are here.
“[T]his is a nation where you dictate your destiny,” Garza said. “No other nation has fulfilled more dreams and more aspirations than this country.”
Learn more about our principles for building a welcoming and just immigration system.