Immigration and Refugees
NEW YORK, 12 February 2019 (IPS) – One cold afternoon in November 2005, Hilarino came to Pedro's house in Oaxaca, Mexico
"Pedro!" he shouted, “We're going to march. There is a route north to the United States that runs along the sea. ”
Pedro was excited. “I saw her by car and thought there was money. At least a lot of jobs. "" Pedro shook Hilarino's hand, returned inside and told his wife, Camila, that he left the country. He went to the United States.
Twelve years after he originally crossed the border as a wobbler, Pedro cooked a deli in Upper Manhattan. He is one of the 775,000 undocumented immigrants estimated to live in the state of New York in 2018. Like most immigrants, he left his family and came to the United States, forgetting success. But mostly he dreamed of happiness.
Today, Pedro throws food as a pitcher in the last round of the baseball game – the same speed, the same accuracy. He also produces sandwiches, spreads cream cheese in a sack and sometimes cooks hamburgers and steaks. He always adds spices to cooking: chilli powder, cumin and garlic.
From Monday to Saturday he stands 8 hours behind the fireplace and talks to his colleagues about his family and weekends. They are almost whole Mexicans and crossed the border on foot.
In 1999, Samuel, the closest friend of Pedro, crossed over when he was 15 years old. Now she is married and has three children. His other friends deli, Jose, Lupe and Juana had a similar fate. They live with their family in the United States.
The dark, straight hair of Pedro is in turn covered with a white fabric that resembles a chef's hat. When you ask for turkey sandwiches after 22:00, Pedro will tell you about the counter by winning the height of 5 & # 39; s and curious to see who will buy.
I met them – Samuel, Juana, Jose, Lupe and Pedro – when I moved to New York in 2017. They love Spanish speakers who go to the deli. Since Spain I'm right.
“How's the school?” Asks Lupe once I tell her I'm attending Columbia University. "What are you studying? Be careful!"
Pedro is afraid of Donald Trump, "he's not good for immigrants, he's just rich." makes Pedro help Hillary in 2016. "He said he would help us."
"Are you a Democrat?" I ask him. He was 23 years previous, had lived in Oaxaca for his whole life, worked for 4 years as a police officer in his hometown. His job was dangerous and boring. "If I had stayed, I doubt I'd be alive." He by no means knew when rcos [drug dealer] donates or kills officers regardless of them. "I was crazy," he explains the espresso.
In September 2005, her childhood pal who lived in California, Hilarino, referred to as her. "I'll be back to you, Pedro."
"I was so excited about it. You can't imagine, "Pedro sighs.
That very same evening, he advised his pregnant spouse that he left. Camila shook her head. "You are lying." Pedro was quiet, stopped frijoles, kissed his wife a superb night time and went to bed.
Hilarino returned to Mexico in November 2005, when Pedro's spouse had simply given start to a different woman. Hilarino performed at Pedro's house in a brand new automotive and agreed to take a protected passage via the Gulf of California to Arizona.
Pedro advised Camila absolutely when she left. He stared at him quietly and accused him of lonely years. However he didn't consider him. "You have a job here," Camila barked. “If you want to go, go. But you have a job here. Your family is here. Pedro couldn't hear him. At that time happiness was across the border.
On February 28, 2006, Hilarino invited Pedron. On March 3rd, he came to the United States. Pedro hung up, stopped working and filled a small bag of dried tortillas and canned kidney beans. On the third morning he woke up and left.
Camila asked her to stay. She cried, pointed to her daughter and let her tear wet on the tablecloth. But nothing could move Pedro. He is not going to let his feelings dictate his actions. “I hardened my heart. I already knew what I wanted, ”he tells me with a confident voice as he drives espresso. To today, Camila mentions every time they battle, "you never cried to me when you left." Pedro shrinks, and his wrinkles turn out to be clearer.
Hilarino left his automotive together with his mother and father in Oaxaca and joined Pedro and another 12 fascinating Mexicans – 10 males, 2 ladies – from Oaxaca to the Arizona border. Their leadership included a "coyote", a smuggler who helps Mexicans get to the United States
Trump took workplace, coyotes has increased prices. They’re now charging for crushing expenses starting from $ eight,000 to $ 12,000 for many who need to cross the border. Twelve years in the past, Pedro solely paid $ 1, $ 300.
After two days on the bus they arrived at the border – 1800 miles from residence. They bought four liters of water, Coke and Purple Bulls, getting ready for the driest journey of their lives. Within a couple of hours, they turned disgust – undocumented and unwanted. They have been liked, but now they felt apart. They left their households and seemed towards the future for happiness.
The journey took four days. They walked at night time and slept in the mornings to keep away from heat. “The first night I was so scared… Wow. Una caminada recia [A tough walk] ”, says Pedro, to show the length of the journey. “We walked from 18:00 to 15:00. I didn't even know where I was. When you're inside the desert, you can handle anything. ”
This primary day was a nightmare. Pedro grabbed subsequent to Hilarino. You don't hear rather a lot in the desert, so his choir crammed his rest. All of a sudden, one among the 14 immigrants got here to run for them, carrying their footwear with their right hand. "La Migra, La Migra!" He shouted to warn his colleagues about the border guard establishments. "Oh my God, I was so scared," Pedro recollects. All of them began operating, but the coyote referred to as them again and calmed down.
“They're not coming here. Just walk fast. ”
Pedro bursts into laughter, masking his mouth together with his palms. “They didn't get me. They didn't get me! Thank God! ”
Pedro mentions the 5 sentences of God once. After a couple of seconds of doubt, he admits he is a Catholic, but that he doesn’t go typically, and his pal Samuel or Jose. Abruptly he understands something: “He's from Spain, don't you see? Where do you think religion? Spain! “Samuel nodded convinced, and Pedro looks back at me with a smile. "The Argentine pope is a good person," he adds.
On the third day in the desert they had run out of water. Pedro and Hilarino hit the remains of their empty water bottles, hoping for another drop. One out of 14 fainted, so they took him until they arrived in Phoenix, Arizona. They had walked 380 miles, over 80 hours, eating only corn tortillas and kidney beans.
Koyot had arranged a van to drive them from Phoenix to Los Angeles, California. “He was a very good man. I've heard other stories. Accidents, murders. But this coyote made all its promise. He got 14 of us to Los Angeles. “However, Pedro, who was in 2006, now needs a story. “The border is too dangerous. Narcos are everywhere. If you cross their territory, you will become theirs. "
Narcos is not the only problem for Latin American immigrants in 2018. When President George Bush signed the Secure Fence Act in October 2006, the government built a 1120 km fence from San Diego to New Mexico, making it difficult for immigrants to walk. Now, with President Trump, the number of arrests of immigrants and customs (ICE) has increased. Immigrants arrested at the border are prosecuted for criminal law, and funding for border control authorities has been increased. Pedro considers himself lucky to have come to the United States in early 2006 instead of today.
Once in California, Hilarino and Pedro were given fake IDs and looking for jobs. Over the next six months, Pedro gathered pears, peaches and kiwi fruit alongside other Latin Americans. Their salaries were $ 420 per week. Pedro sent some of his income to Camila. But he hated work. "It was too hard," he remembers, rubbing his dry hand against each other.
He also lost his family. “During the first three years I could hardly talk to them over the phone. I couldn't see them. “Now Facebook, Facetime, and WhatsApp often talk. “For the first time I saw them so much. It was incredible, ”he smiles once more. However then he Mumbles: “It's so difficult. So hard, so hard. “
Silvino, one of his planters, suggested that they go to Montgomery, Alabama, where he had worked earlier in the year. The job was in construction and the salary was higher, $ 600 per week. Pedro quickly agreed and offered Hilarino farewell.
Pedro paid $ 200 to get to Montgomery, moved with Silvino and called Camila as he did whenever he traveled. The next day, Pedro worked in the construction industry where he stayed for the next three months
By the end of November, winter took over Alabama and construction stopped. "There were no jobs, I couldn't do anything." Pedro wanted to move again when his wife called him. “My child… They were sick. They had pneumonia. “He told Camila about the savings he had made to a doctor in Mexico. He then looked at someone taking him to New York, where he had a 125-year-old friend. Silvino, like Camila and Hilarino before him, didn't want Pedro to leave. But his arguments and promises about employment did not make Pedro's resolution. He drove his future to New York.
This time he paid $ 400 for a 17-hour trip. When he arrived in the city, it was snow. “What is this?” I requested. I had never seen snow before. I didn't know what to do! “He laughs and his almond eyes disappear. "I was a Big Apple." In New York, where its millions of people rushed to work, date or doctor's appointment, he felt more at home than he had for the last nine months.
The couple he knew on the 125th street demanded him at home as he walked the streets looking for work. It was so cold that he wasn't looking for skyscrapers, he just looked down when he crashed through ice and snow. The next day came Jose, a Mexican couple friend. “You have no work, compadre? I want to talk to el patron, he has a job for you. “
Pedro had not received much English from his two previous jobs – everyone was a Latin American in the field of agriculture and construction.
"What can you do?" Asked Jose.
"Anything," replied Pedro.
Jose called his boss, and Pedro began working on the deli that night. After three months in the construction of Alabama, he was really ready for anything.
She worked one and a half months as a deli's handyman and delivery partner. Once upon a time he felt happy: he enjoyed his friends, his children were healthy, and he liked New York. But the rhythm was too fast. “Everything here rushes. They work, work, work every year. They are busy all the time. There you have more time for the family, the heritage. “
He pauses for a moment and adds:“ Although I love turkey days. ”
” Thanksgiving? "I ask.
"Yes, turkey day!" She laughs
After a number of months he began in search of a brand new job. "It didn't cost enough." In the Deli kitchen, a prepare dinner was needed, so considered one of the Mexicans who worked behind the stove taught Pedro how one can grill. “This is easy, Pedro. Try one hour a day before you go, you will become a cook.
Working in the kitchen was much better: he was able to learn English and the salary was higher.
Samuel, who works on the counter, supported Pedro in front of his boss.
”I had by no means cooked before. In Mexico my spouse's kitchen and I labored. I got here house for a warm meal daily, in addition to a practice. “When he got the job, he called Camila.
"Don't be sad," he said. “We do well. Échale grazing. “Pedro did as he said and worked hard every day and sent the money back to his family. Two years, Samuel ran a deli: "Good news for you, Pedro. El patron will pay you more next week. "
Samuel dropped Pedro's cash with him. "He's such a noble man," Pedro smiles. "He was so happy for me."
Samuel also speaks well of Pedro. "He's always laughing, and he's talking so much," Samuel shows him when Pedro talks to Jose.
Pedro is now sharing a room in Upper Manhattan with an Ecuadorian immigrant. He pays $ 300 for a rent and sends almost $ 2,000 to his family every month through Western Union. Most of it goes to Camila and her two daughters. “A couple of years ago, Camila called me and said,“ We are going to buy a country. ""
Pedro leans and assures me: "It would not have been possible if I had not come here. They have everything now.
Still Camila wants her home, and Pedro has the same desire. He's losing his family. When she wakes up at 12:00, she calls her daughters, who are 13 and 15 years old. The smallest she sang on her phone as a child. “I talked to her and she sang back. He just sang, ”he says happily to me. After a 30-minute conversation, he will probably be changed to deli at 16.00. He additionally sends them sometimes: socks, footwear and clothes.
On Sundays he listens to rancher (he hates reggaeon), goes for a stroll to the middle, and has beer together with his Mexican buddies. Typically he joins the Samuel family once they go to picnic on the Governor's Island. Each few days she reads El Diario de Nueva York for immigration information. He additionally appears at El Diario de Mexico and is certain that the demise of the largest political get together in Mexico, Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) has taken place, and AMLO is in control. Samuel, Jose, Lupe, Juana and the other Mexicans who work in the deli are feeling the similar.
“Most of my pals need to go house. One simply left. He had a girlfriend, laughs at Pedro. When he returns to Mexico, he starts his personal enterprise, maybe a restaurant. However he knows that the second he puts his foot back to his house country, he never returns.
"I have stated this for 3 years. Sometime I'll go. But not now. “Pedro smiles once more, and he renews the chef's hat when he throws the beef over the grills.
He appears back at Samuel and repeats: "Someday."
- All names have been modified to take care of their id.
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