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Immigrants Of The Day: Albert Pujols of Dominican Republic, Jesus Manuel Cordova of Mexico, and Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa of Mexico

by Kevin R. Johnson

Albert Pujols (Dominican Republic)

Pujols_facing Jos Alberto Pujols Alcntara (born January 16, 1980, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) is the first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals. Widely regarded as one of the best players in Major League Baseball game today, with Golden Glove and MVP awards, and a World Series victory, to his credit, Pujols and his family immigrated to the United States in the early 1990s.  They first settled in New York City and later moved to Independence, Missouri.

Pujols gained his love for baseball in the United States.  He batted over .500 in his first season of baseball at Fort Osage High School. He went on to attend Maple Woods Community College in the Kansas City area. Pujols hit a grand slam and turning an unassisted triple play in his first game. He batted .461 for the year.

Few big league teams were interested in Pujols. The St. Louis Cardinals drafted Pujols in the 13th round of the 1999 draft, the 402nd overall pick. In 1999, Pujols played for the Peoria Chiefs of the single-A Midwest League and he was voted league MVP. Pujols quickly progressed through the ranks of the St. Louis farm clubs, first at the Potomac Cannons in the high-A Carolina League and then with the Memphis Redbirds in the Class AAA Pacific Coast League. In just seven games with the Redbirds in 2000, Pujols batted .367 with two home runs.

Pujols is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

For the Albert Pujols fansite, click here.

December 27, 2007 | Permalink

Jesus Manuel Cordova (Mexico)

Our Immigrant of the Year is a previous Immigrant of the Day -- Jesus Manuel Cordova, the hero who saved a young boy in the desert whose mother died in an auto accident on Thanksgiving Day 2007.  Cordova cared for a 9-year-old boy found wandering alone after his mother died in a crash near the U.S./Mexico border in southern Arizona. The boy was looking for help after his mother crashed her van off a cliff. Unable to pull the mother out of the car, Cordova comforted the boy while they waited for help. The woman unfortunately died a short time later. "[Cordova] stayed with [the boy], told him that everything was going to be all right," the local sherriff said. As temperatures dropped, he gave him a jacket, built a bonfire and stayed with him until about 8 a.m. Friday morning, when a group of hunters passed by and called authorities.

Cordova was taken into custody by Border Patrol agents. He had been trying to walk into the U.S. when he came across the boy. Cordova was returned to Mexico.  When interviewed there, he mentioned that he watched over the boy in the desert because he was thinking about his own four children in Mexico and could not leave him alone while he completed his journey to Tucson.

Cordova was honored on December 4 by U.S. and Mexican officials at a border crossing. He stood by shyly with his mother and stepfather as officials talked about his heroism.

Even though Jesus Manuel Vordova was only an undocumented immigrant in the United States for a brief time, his actions make him our Immigrant of the Year.  I don't know about you but I would be honored to have him as a neighbor.

December 28, 2007 | Permalink

Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa (Mexico)

Alfredo The life of Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa is a classic American dream.  Twenty years ago, he hopped a fence from Mexico into the United States and became a migrant farmworker. Today, he is a neurosurgeon and professor at Johns Hopkins University, and a researcher who is looking for a breakthrough in the treatment of brain cancer.

Quinones-Hinojosa's remarkable journey began in a tiny farming community, 60 miles south of the U.S. border, where he was born there.  By age 5, he was working at his father's gas station. His grandmother was a village healer and a midwife.

A graduate of UC Berkeley and Harvard Medical School, Quiones-Hinojosa has been named to Popular Science Magazine's annual Brilliant 10 list.

In sum, Quiones-Hinojosa began his life in American as an undocumented immigrant farm worker who was able to legalize. He later naturalized and became a U.S. citizen.  He searches for a cure for brain cancer.

NPR did a wonderful story about Quinones-Hinojosa, which includes an interview.

December 31, 2007 | Permalink

These posts were orginally posted on the ImmigrationProf Blog here, here and here.

About The Author

Kevin R. Johnson is currently Dean, Professor of Law and Chicana/o Studies, and the Mabie-Apallas Public Interest Law Chair holder at the University of California at Davis. He is also one of the editors of ImmigrationProf Blog .

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.