After singing the national anthem in mariachi dress during Game 3 of the NBA Finals last June, Sebastien de la Cruz received praise but also became a target of racist attacks. This year 12-year-old Sebastien is still singing and, showing off his latest trajes de charro. He’s today’s profile subject and Day 6 in a New York Times journey along Interstate-35 that looks at “how America is being changed by immigration.” I-35 is a middle America highway stretching from Laredo, Texas near the Mexican border to Duluth, Minnesota. Central questions for the series: Are immigrants [from south of the border] Americans? How has life along I-35 changed after decades of northward migration? Are newcomers integrating into American life?
Four stories precede Sebastien’s. I’ll get to them this weekend but after reading Sebastien’s brief profile, it strikes me that this journey north could show that many folks like Sebastien aren’t newcomers. They’ve been here—in many cases just as long or longer than other “preferred Americans” whose immigration status and roots aren’t similarly questioned.
The New York Times is asking folks to tell them where to go along I-35. Give ‘em a hand. Help shape the story.