July 19, 2012
Carlos Mendoza used to have a good job in Mexico working in the financial department of a auto-parts factory, however in 2001 as a result of the National Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) he saw as his co-workers were replaced, and eventually lost his job. He moved to the U.S. in 2003 to North Carolina, first by himself, and then with the rest of his family. When the 287(g) program was implemented in his community four years ago, he first thought it would be a good thing targeting people who were dangerous for the neighborhood. However, he soon began to see check points all over the city, targeting people who had families, who were workers, his neighbors. This is when he began to volunteer with his church and local organizations. Then he had a work-related accident, where he broke both of his wrists, and his employer refused to support him. It took an entire community-led campaign to make his employer accountable. This is when Mendoza realized that community organizing works, and has become a worker’s rights advocate in North Carolina. He is on the bus because he wants his children to grow up and live without fear, in a country that provides all opportunities to succeed.