Contemplations of Identity

Article subtitle: 
Join Damien Cave & Todd Heisler as they travel up Interstate 35... chronicling how the middle of America is being changed by [illegal] immigration
Article author: 
Damien Cave and Todd Heisler
Article publisher: 
The New York Times
Article date: 
10 June 2014
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

Armando Minjarez, clipboard in hand, walked through a north Wichita neighborhood of bungalows bearing the signs of Mexican domesticity: Virgin Mary statues on the lawns; children’s toys strewn about.

He had come to ask residents for suggestions about the next mural he and a group of activists planned to paint on a wall in the neighborhood. They had decided it should be about women, but what would residents want to see portrayed?

“Libertad,” said the first woman he met, at a lemon yellow house with red roses in the yard. She said that her daughters had gone to college here and succeeded, but that liberty and equality needed to be extended “to the people who have been living here for a long time without papers.”

“It’s very difficult for them,” she added ...

Many of the homeowners have also installed a Mexican version of the white picket fence: tall white or black steel fences, easy to talk through, hard to climb...

 “Here you don’t earn as much, but you live a better life,” said Alberto Sosa, 46, a landscaper who moved to Wichita 11 years ago after 12 years in Los Angeles ...

Mr. Sosa said Mexicans are perhaps less concerned with planning or rules than many of their non-Hispanic neighbors are ...