I was just a boy...

I'm the fourth child out of a family of eight. When I was twelve my father passed away it was a hard time to go through, especially because we were still young and my mother had to care for all of us. I had to mature fast and help out my mother. At age sixteen I made the decision of coming to the United States, my mother was not very fond of the idea. But I wanted to help her out as best as I could. My two older brothers were already here, but I felt it was my responsibility to care for my younger brothers and sisters. 

I came with an uncle; we crossed the border in Tijuana and ended up in San Diego. It took us hours to walk there, but we were very lucky because many have it harder and have to walk for several days. Once we were in San Diego we were taken to a house where they sent us on a plane to Philadelphia, where my brother was. There my brother picked me up and I stayed with him. I wanted to work right away but I was denied many jobs. Everyone said I was too young, I was very small back then so I looked even younger then what I was. However, I didn't give up and I kept searching. Finally, a mushroom factory hired me and I worked there for 2 years before moving to different one, where I worked for 3 months. My brother then came back for me and his boss let me work at his mushroom factory. I kept that job for the rest of time I was here, actually not until a few years ago did I stop working for him. 

I was here for three years before I returned back home. When I went back to Mexico after those first three years, I was lucky enough to hear about the "amnesty" they were passing at the time. I quickly returned so I could apply for it. Back when this happen you only had to present several proofs and records which showed you had been working in the United States for at least 3months per year. Anyone could apply for it and majority of us received it. This happened in 1984 and I received my full documentation in 1987. Unfortunately, things are not that easy anymore. There are so many more restrictions and rules now a days. I consider myself to be extremely lucky to have gotten that chance. 

In 1990 I went back to Mexico, that was the year I met my wife. We married the following year, and had our first daughter the next year. It was difficult for me to see my family because I had to work here in order to maintain them. So when my daughter turned two in 1994 I made the decision to apply them for documentation. Three years later we had our second child, a boy. As my family grew so did my anxiousness to see my family. I had to wait six years for the process to go through. Finally, 2000 the process was complete. The following year in November of 2001 I was finally united with my family. This brought great happiness that cannot be put into words. All the years that I had gone without my wife and kids were finally over. Most importantly I was able to provide my kids with the education that I never got. And give them many opportunities that they they wouldn't have, or would have had had they stayed back home. It has now been 10 years I have lived happily along side of my family; and 28 years of my life that I spent out of my homeland to provide the best I can for the ones I love.