Tribune Content Agency Opinions

Documenting my father's route to becoming an American

On the dining room table before me is a rumpled piece of paper, barely bigger than a sticky note.

It is the reason that I exist.

The "Alien Head-Tax Receipt" recorded the fare paid by my grandmother at what was then called the Mexican Border District.

To me it's precious, like the companion she had with her that day -- my then-infant father -- as she crossed from Mexico northward into the United States.

Purple stamped

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