2 Matching Annotations
  1. Jul 2021
    1. Anne: In the US, it didn't happen?Juan: My plan was, when I was 16 I had received DACA. I was one of the first ones who had received it—because that's when it had barely come out. I applied for it, I got it. I think I was a junior in high school. My first job was as a dishwasher, and then from there—Anne: You got a green card so you could go to work?Juan: I don't consider DACA as a green card. It's more like a permit to work.Anne: A permit to work.Juan: Yeah, I had DACA, so my plan was to graduate high school, work for one or two years, save up money, then go to college. That was my plan, but a situation happened—I think I was twenty. No, I was nineteen about to be twenty. I got accused of something, which was a really big deal, and it all went downhill from there. I got accused and then I was working one day and the cops came looking for me and they were like, "Are you Juan?"Juan: I'm like, "Yes," so they're like, "You're being accused of this and that," and then I got sent to jail. I was being accused of a first-degree felony, so they were like, "If you're found guilty of a first-degree felony, you can take up to six to twenty years in prison." Right there, my whole life was—I hit the bottom. I was nineteen with a first-degree charge and it all went along, my parents, they got me a lawyer.Juan: I was in jail for five months fighting my case and then they found out that I wasn't guilty, so this is something really strange because—Anne: They found out you weren't guilty.Juan: Yes, I wasn't guilty. I was proven innocent, but the thing is that since it was a first degree felony, they usually don't drop it down. This is what I found out when I was in jail—because you learn things when you're in jail—that when you have a first-degree felony, they drop it down to a second or third degree and then they give you a plea. How do you say it? Yes, a plea.Anne: A plea.Juan: That wasn't my case, because I couldn't live with the felony on my record. From a first-degree felony, they dropped it down to a Class A misdemeanor, so obviously I wasn't guilty at all. I was proven innocent after five months [Chuckles].Anne: Couldn't they just wipe it out altogether? Why did it have to be a misdemeanor?Juan: Because the state couldn't lose, that's the thing. When you're in jail, you learn a lot of things and my lawyer at the moment, he explained everything. If we were to take it to trial and the state loses, it's going to look bad on them. Obviously, they're not going to let me live clean. They're going to want me to take one charge at least. So, what they did was, from a first-degree felony, they dropped it down to a Class A misdemeanor.Juan: They couldn't take off all of the charges because that would mean taking it to trial—it's going to cost a lot of money—so they were like, "Accept the plea deal and then you're free to go, but you will have the Class A misdemeanor. With time and with the lawyer, you can remove it from your record, but not a felony. A felony will always be on your record.” So, I took the deal, and then as soon as I took the deal, I was free to go, but immigration got me right there.Juan: Immigration got me, they removed my DACA, and after that I started my process with immigration. I was in jail for, in total, eight months. Five with the state then three with immigration. I think I would have been able to stay if I was married to a US citizen or if I'd had a kid, or if I had something that tied me to the US. But since I was nineteen, I wasn't married, I didn't have any kids, I didn't have anything that tied me to the US.Anne: The Class A misdemeanor, that's one of the misdemeanors that is disqualifying for DACA?Juan: Yes.Anne: Did they know? I guess your lawyer knew that this was going to happen.Juan: Yes. He knew that they were going to remove DACA.Anne: Though he told you that it's the kind of misdemeanor that you could expunge from your record?Juan: Yes.Juan: He did say we can stay, take it to trial, and here's the big dilemma. You could either win with the jury or you can lose with the jury. If you lose, then you can look up to twenty years in prison. But if you win, you live clean you know? But do you really want to take the chance? Taking it to trial does take a long time. It can take up to a year or a year and a half in jail, and I was already five months in jail. I'm like, "I don't want to be here anymore."Anne: You said that you were accused of a felony. Was it a fabricated accusation?Juan: Yes, fabricated accusation—do you mean was it made up?Anne: Yes.Juan: Yes, it was made up. It was a made-up accusation.Juan: The funny part is that once I was out of jail because … When I was with immigration, the judge found me … I wasn't a danger to society or anything like that. He let me off with a…How do you call it?Anne: A bond?Juan: With a bond, yes. Actually, it was a $10,000 bond. Then my dad came up with the money fast so that he could get me out of jail.Juan: It was something that, like I said, I'm just glad it's over with but it's an experience that I went through that sometimes I do hate myself for putting myself in that situation because I could say, "Well, maybe that night I should've just stayed home. I shouldn't have gone out and I should've just…" Because at that time, I had a good job. My brother was doing good, my family was doing good, my parents, they would go camping every weekend or they would go fishing. They would go out.Juan: I would provide help financially to my parents, so we were all doing good. My brother and I graduated high school. We were looking to our future—everything was doing good. We were looking into getting a house. Sometimes I do feel guilty. I’m like, because of the situation that happened for me, my parents' plans, they all went downhill and I'm just glad that they … Because one thing that I remember is that when they first took me in jail, they're like, "You have one call."Juan: I called my dad and I was crying. I was like, "Dad, I'm in jail." He was like, "Why?" I'm like, "They're accusing me of this." And he just said, "Don't say anything. We're going to get a lawyer and just hang in there." My dad, he did everything in his power to help me out. He didn't know what happened [Emotional], but he believed in me because he knew that the kind of person that I was, and so then my mom ... All my friends, they didn't help me at all. It was my parents who went to the trials and stuff like that. [Chuckles]

      Time in the US, Higher Education, Dreaming about, Arrests, Misdemeanors, False accusations, Prison, Feelings, Sadness, Tragedy, Disappointment, Despair, Regret, Dreams

  2. Jun 2021
    1. Anita: Why didn't they stay behind?Luisa: I think my mom felt guilty. I think she didn't want me to be by myself. She felt guilty that she didn't allow me to apply for DACA, so she's like, "Okay. That's okay." Eventually my sisters are going to have to go through this and let's do it now so the change doesn't hurt them as much when it comes down to it. They had it a little easier, I think [Chuckles]. They didn't have to go through it twice, or maybe that's just my bitterness, but I had to go through that uprooting and going into a strange country twice [Chuckles]. They don't remember Mexico at all, so I don't think they remember any of the life that we had here.

      Leaving the US, Reasons for Exit, Following a loved one