352 Matching Annotations
  1. Aug 2021
  2. migration-encounters-prototype.netlify.app migration-encounters-prototype.netlify.app
    1. mentalation


    2. Armando:        It is. It is. It is a lot. So different. It's like imagine you're growing in a place, and then just leave it and go to a place where you've never been to. And it's so hard. It's hard because... Now, if I didn't have my kids over there, it probably wouldn't have been so hard, but now that I have my kids over there and they don't understand. They don't know. They think it's like, "Well, dad come work over here." It's like, "No, you can come back over here whenever you want to." Because they’re so young, they don't know.Armando:        And then I remember I spoke to my oldest kid and he said, "Come over here dad." I say, "I can't right now." I say, "I got deported." I said, "But if I do, I'm gonna try to go one day again," and he's like, "Well, what happens now?" I'm never going to forget what he said. He said, "What happens if you come back over here and the police catches you? You gonna go to jail?" I said, "No." He said, "Yeah, I see the news. I see Donald Trump in my face tell me in school that Donald Trump say that he don't want any Mexicans over here." He's already experiencing a little bit of racism at school. Even though he's a USA citizen, but the color of his skin. And it's hard.Armando:        Anyway, he tells me that, I feel bad. But I tell him, I say, "Don't listen. Don't listen to the kids. You're a USA citizen, just like them and you have the same opportunities that they're going to have." I say, "Just concentrate, help your mom, look after your brothers," I say, "Try to help them out. Try to be somebody in life." And I say, "Don't let what happened to me, or don't let this distance take you under the pressure or anything." I say, "You got to be strong, you got to do something," I say.Armando:        Because that's the way I always thought about, I got to try to help... be somebody in life, basically. I don't want to be on the streets. To me, that's nothing. A lot of kids or people that I know, they're like, "I'm from the streets, I want to do this, I want to do that." I say, "Nah, you got to work, you got to be a good man." I say, "Hanging out with your friends, robbing, doing that stuff," I say, "That's nothing good. You end up in jail or getting killed." So I say, "For what?" I say, "Just go ahead and go to school, make the best of it, and I hope that you end up being a good... get a good job and...” I'll tell him, "You have a better opportunity than what I had."Armando:        So he says, "Yeah, yeah, dad." He said, "When I grow up, I'm going to try to get you to come over here." He tells me a lot. He sells hard too. He's like, "Whenever I grow up, I'ma get you a USA citizen and everything." And we're like, "You don't have to do that. We just want you to become a better man, become a good man, have a great job, be somebody in life."

      Great quote; return to mexico, challenges, family separation; return to mexico, family relationships, those who stayed in the US

    3. Anne:        Yeah, yeah. Do you feel like you're an American? Do you feel like you're a Mexican?Armando:        I mean, A lot of times a lot of people ask me that, and I'm always going to say to me, my home country, it sounds crazy, but it's been America. That's where my life was. That's where my life is still. That's where my kids are. And I feel like it's hard because when you've been in a country so long, and it's like your country. People who grow here, they, "I'm Mexican." And then I grew up in United States, so even though I'm not from there, I love that country. It gets... I understand the laws, they are tough, but yes, it's a great country [Chuckle].

      Reflections, identity, american

    4. Anne:        Yeah, and most of your work was restaurants or construction.Armando:        Yes. When I was young, it was restaurants. When I started growing, I started working a lot of constructions because you get paid a little more. But then, at one point, I couldn't get a job in construction because they were asking me... Right before I got deported. They were asking me for a social security number. So I started working in the field, tobacco. And you know how bad they pay right there. It's like $7, $7.25 an hour and you work all day to make about $300 a week and it's hard. So that's when I was like, man, it's just getting hard. It's getting harder over there. But the good thing about it, I was with my kids.

      time in the US, jobs/employment/work, careers, construction, food services, earnings

    5. Anne:        And you said you moved to Atlanta.Armando:        I did live in Atlanta to go to high school right there.Anne:        Oh, you went to high school there.Armando:        Yes. I went to North Carolina. I went to Atlanta to go to high school. Because I did live in Atlanta for about a year, and I loved the high school. I loved the schools in Atlanta, so I told my dad, "I want to go to high school in North Carolina. I want to finish my high school in North Carolina." But then we started having issues, family problems, and I had to drop.Anne:        So you stayed in Atlanta.Armando:        I went back to North Carolina.Anne:        Oh, you went back to North Carolina.Armando:        Yeah.Anne:        Okay. So you went to Atlanta for high school, then you came back when your mom and dad were having health issues.Armando:        Yes.

      time in the US, states, georgia, north carolina; time in the US, family, illness

    6. Anne:        Do you remember it being difficult in terms of leaving people behind, like grandparents, or cousins, or—Armando:        Yes, my grandma. My little friend. My friends, my little cousins.Anne:        Friends, yeah.Armando:        But I was too young at that time, really, and I was just... I follow mom and dad. I did feel bad when I first left Mexico because I didn't know where I was going. I was like, well, I'm going somewhere I don't even know, and I don't know how it's going to be over there. And it did, it was a little hard, but it ain't as hard as it is right now [Laughing].

      Mexico before the US, family relationships, those who stayed in mexico; Mexican childhood, family, family separation, friends

    7. Armando:        Yeah, so when I first went to the States, I remember I was going to be eight years old, went with my mom and dad, and we were just looking for a better future, you know, better life. And I remember when we crossed the border, because I crossed the border. So when I first got there, to the first state I went to was North Carolina—I’m sorry, to California, ____, California. And when I remember when I first went through there, I was scared. Mom and dad were scared about immigration.

      Time in the US, age; feelings, fear

    8. Armando:        North Carolina is where I lived most of my time. And it was—Anne:        And no one spoke English you said?Armando:        Spanish. No one spoke Spanish in school.Anne:        No one spoke Spanish, yeah.Armando:        So it was like one or two kids that knew how to speak Spanish just a little bit. But, actually when I got there, it was kind of hard to... Where you go from one country, go to another one, it's kind of hard, but after that... It didn't really took me long, about six months, and I was like, wow, here's so different and better.

      Time in the US, states, North Carolina; time in the US, arriving in the US, first impressions, learning english

  3. migration-encounters-prototype.netlify.app migration-encounters-prototype.netlify.app
    1. Sergio:        Would you ever want to go back?Soner:        Yes, I would like to go back. But not to stay, like to visit. I feel like I don't want to put my family... Right now, I don't want to put my family, the one I've started, through that change that my mom made me go through when I was small. For example, a new country, new customs, new backgrounds, new everything. I try to speak with my kids in English, so they would learn and not be setback in that. If they do want to go ahead and sign up for a foreign exchange student program or anything like that, I mean, they would be prepared with that knowledge base of that language, so they can better communicate or translate or anything like that.

      reflections, family, dreams

    2. Sergio:        Aside from the food, was the transition from the U.S. life to Mexican life hard?Soner:        Yes, it was hard. Also, because as I mentioned to you before, the money-wise. For example, when we were in Atlanta, it was every weekend, go out to eat. I don't know, go to the park, go to the movies. And when we came back, it was kind of a... We deprived ourselves from certain privileges. For example, back in the States, you could purchase some tennis shoes or some clothes, like every two weeks, three weeks. Right here, because of money-wise, you have to work hard, just wait for that paycheck to come good, so you can buy stuff for yourself, for your family members, for your loved ones. And it's kind of hard in that part.

      return to mexico, challenges, economic well-being, cultural differences

    3. Sergio:        So where did you live in the U.S.?Soner:        I lived in the U.S. in Atlanta, Georgia.

      time in the US, states, georgia

    4. Sergio:        After 10 years of being away, what was it like being back?Soner:        Well, it was difficult. Mostly the food, it was totally different over there. There it was mostly like take-out burgers, In-N-Out. And over here it's more home cooked meals. For example, like not fried chicken, but chicken soup, rice, there's different types of... How do you say it? It's called, not just one type of foods, for example, like burgers or fries, soft drinks. Over here is more like organic or more home cooked.

      return to mexico, challenges, cultural differences; food

    5. Soner:        Yes. For my grandmother who had the stroke. When we got here, she was still hospitalized and she was kind of in a coma for a few months. And when she came back to her senses, the doctor told us that she had a partial paralysis on her left side. So my mom knew that she couldn't go back right away because she had to take care of her mom. And we stayed down here. We took care of my grandmother until she got better. She got a lot better. She fully recovered from her side paralysis. And then my mom was just starting to go ahead and get her beauty salon back on track. Because she left it, but it wasn't closed or shut down. She just left it under somebody else's care, a family friend. And when my mom came back, she started to retake that.

      family, grandparents; illness; return to mexico, family relationships, those who stayed in Mexico, reunification

    6. Sergio:        When did you find out that you were coming back?Soner:        I found out that I was coming back when I was in summer vacation, because my mom received the... Well, she didn't receive, she called to check on her mom and my grandmother didn't answer. And she always, usually she always answered her phone. And this time a cousin that was living next to her, answered the phone and explained everything to my mom. That my grandmother was... That she suffered a stroke and that she was in the hospital. And my mom, she felt like that she needed to come back. And at the time she told her sister, my aunt, that she was going to come back, but she needed us to stay over there.Soner:        And I mean, first of all, me and my sister, we've been close to my mom since day one. I mean, my sister, she mostly lived her life over there because we took her over six months. Her life was over there. But I told my mom that if she was going to come back, I had to come back with her, because I couldn't stay knowing that my mom would be down here and I would be over there. We would be apart. And then my sister followed me. She's been close to my mom ever since she was little, and that's why we try to stay all together and come back all together.Sergio:        And you all came back.Soner:        And we all came back.

      leaving the US, reason for return, family reunification, family decision; family, parents, grandparents; illness

    7. Sergio:        So when you went... Before you left the U.S., when you were kind of going through your years, what did you want to do in the U.S. after graduation? After all of that?Soner:        When I was in the U.S., I was mostly drawn to art. There was a guidance counselor in my middle school that noticed that I liked drawing. And she signed me up for a special program for art. And I started doing that. It was an afterschool program, so I took advantage of that. I tried to do as much as, like improve my art, for example, my drawing. I know how to mold with clay. I know how to paint. And those skills were like, have been reminiscent with me, because throughout the years I've been trying to develop my tattoo skills, my graffiti skills. I've been doing that, not recently, but throughout my adolescence and my adulthood before I had children.Sergio:        So you wanted to be an artist?Soner:        Yeah, I wanted to be an artist.

      reflections, dreams; time in the US, pastimes, art, painting/sculpture/drawing

    8. Sergio:        Did you, growing up, always feel like an outsider?Soner:        Well, I didn't feel like an outsider. It just felt out of place. I didn't feel like I was... I mean, there was a lot of people that made me feel welcome, but a lot of people that... Not just to me, but to other individuals that I knew that were held back sometimes. For example, from jobs in school. In the community, I felt that. But no, I did not feel like out of place or anything like that. I just felt like I just needed to adapt to that environment.

      reflections, identity

    9. Sergio:        By the time you left, did you feel like you adapted better?Soner:        By the time I left, I tried to not forget what I had learned and I tried to implement that when I got here, like to not be bullied or not to be discriminated for being raised over here or for knowing another language. It was kind of hard because, for example, over here in school, they teach you English as a second language. And I tried to not stand out because I truly, I don't feel like I should stand out because I don't like that attention on me. For example, the teacher would always say, "Well, [inaudible 00:10:17] or Soner would know the answer because he knows the language." And how I would just try to just sit all the way in the back of the class. Be like, "No, I don't know."Sergio:        Did you?Soner:        Yeah, I did. Yeah. And in the States I learned that I try to do that because some other students or fellow students that were with me in elementary and middle school, they were more of a teacher’s pet. And I was like, "No, I'm not going to become that. I'm going to try to just lay back all the way in the back. Just try to not draw attention to myself."

      return to mexico, challenges, continuing education, discrimination/stigmatization, cultural differences

    10. Sergio:        Did you feel like that pledge applies to you?Soner:        Well, the pledge, like specifically, it didn't apply to me. I felt like I was just saying it to not disrespect the country that I was living in. But I didn't feel it as my own. Because I was born in Mexico and going to another country, that was kind of difficult.Sergio:        Did you ever feel like it was your country? Did you ever feel comfortable?Soner:        I felt comfortable, but I never felt like it was my country. Because I did suffer from not racism, but exclusion from certain people, especially Anglos. They did try to keep you down, but I've never let that keep me... Held me back or anything like that.

      feelings, unbelonging; reflections, identity; time in the US, discrimination/stigmatization

    11. Sergio:        It must've been a harder transition. Were you ever bullied?Soner:        No, I wasn't bullied. Because I've always had a hard temper even when I was a child. I've never experienced any bullying because I tried to get integrated with a bilingual group, with mostly Spanish speaking group. And I mean, they also helped me how to understand the language, how to be more accustomed to it, and how to learn their traditions, their mannerisms and whatnot.

      time in the US, school, learning english/ESL, making friends

    12. Sergio:        When you were there and you started school, what was that transition like?Soner:        When I started school, that transition was a bit difficult because first of all, I didn't know the country and the customs that they had over there. For example, over here in Mexico, you do the pledge to the flag every Monday. And over there, you do it every morning. So that was kind of different. Adapting to the food, the environment, everything like that was a bit difficult. But I mean, since I was a kid, I tried to adapt to overcome. And that's what helped me out with that.

      time in the US, school; cultural differences

    13. Sergio:        How did you feel? Did you feel mad?Soner:        No, not mad. I felt more of a... How would you say? I felt more of a uncertainty, because I didn't know why we moved. I just knew I had to follow my mom. I didn't know the country, the language. And that was kind of like a setback for me. Because I mean, I left school and everything I had behind.

      feelings, disorientation, sadness; time in the US, arriving in the US, first impressions

    14. Sergio:        What do you hope to accomplish now that you're back here?Soner:        Right now, what I want to accomplish is to first get enough money to... Well, get a visa or a passport for me and my kids and my wife to visit, I don't know, maybe Disneyland. Right now, my main goal is to... There's this program here in Mexico called Infonavid, which is for, to buy a house. I'm trying to look into that. I want to have that background that I do have something to return, because that's what they told me that if you want to apply for a visa or anything like that, they have to see that you have something to come back to. And I do want to come back to my house over here. I just don't want to buy it and just leave it standing there. I want to buy it and be living in it for maybe the rest of my life, and leave it to my kids and their kids and their grandkids.

      reflections, dreams

    15. Sergio:        What's your first memory of the U.S.?Soner:        My first memory of the U.S. is, what am I doing here? And why did my mom bring me somewhere far, far away from my family? That was my first impression, I would say.Sergio:        Because you had to leave your friends.Soner:        Yeah. My friends, my school, my teachers. And then just moving to another place and starting from zero, from scrap, that was a pretty difficult transition.

      mexico before the US, mexican childhood, memories, friends; time in the US, arriving in the US, first impressions, awareness of what was happening

    16. Sergio:        What did your family and what did you leave behind in Mexico when you left?Soner:        Well, me and my family, we left other loved ones. For example, my dad stayed here. My grandmother, my grandparents, all of them. We left the house. My mom had her own business, she had her barber shop. And she just try to make something better for us.Sergio:        So she left behind a barbershop?Soner:        Yeah. She studied for like... Not a barbershop, a beauty salon. She studied that. She has been putting like nails, makeup, hairdos. She does all that. I try to be aware of what she's done for me and my sister.

      Mexico before the US, mexican childhood, memories, family; mexico before the US, family relationships, those who stayed in Mexico

    17. Sergio:        First, why did your family leave from Mexico to the U.S.?Soner:        Well, my mom started to move around. She went to, she left Juarez, still here in Mexico, and she began working in a tire factory. And then from that job, she got her visa and her passport, and she got me and my sister, the visa and passport, and we just moved to Atlanta to reunite with family members. Her sister, my uncle, my cousin. And we've been there for about nine, 10 years over there.

      mexico before the US, migration from mexico, reasons, family reunification

  4. migration-encounters-prototype.netlify.app migration-encounters-prototype.netlify.app
    1. Sergio:        Do you feel more Mexican or American?Francisco:        I don't feel neither Mexican or American. I'm in the middle.Sergio:        Why is that?Francisco:        ‘Cause…I’m Mexican, but I was raised out there. Then the same thing, I was raised out there, but I'm not from there, so same thing.

      reflections, identity, neither

    2. Sergio:        How does the system work, in your eyes?Francisco:        If you try to work and do it the right way, they're just going to take your time and they're going to take your money away. Now, if you just give up and do the, what's it called, the deportation, you're just there probably a week, not even two weeks. They'll say things, like you're going to stay longer there, like 10 years, five years, if you come back. When I was locked up, I saw a person go there three times, and he got deported every time. I was there fighting my case the right way, and look what happened. So yeah, I'm going to try to go illegally.

      time in the US, immigration status, broken system

    3. Sergio:        Do you miss anything about the US?Francisco:        Just my family, mostly, and friends.Sergio:        What do they say?Francisco:        To go back. That's what they say.Sergio:        Do you want to?Francisco:        Yeah. I do want to go back.Sergio:        How would you return?Francisco:        Illegally. I tried doing it the right way, and look what it got me. Since I was locked up for nine months, I kinda know, I kinda figured how the system works, so I'm just going to try it illegally.

      reflections, the United States, deportation, family separation; reflections, Mexico, worst parts about being back; reflections, dreams

    4. Sergio:        What was your return in Mexico like when you came back?Francisco:        It was actually nice, but it's a lot different than the States, a lot different.Sergio:        How?Francisco:        Just the way the people are, how they live, everything. It's just another world.Sergio:        Was transitioning over hard for you?Francisco:        No, actually I did like it. I liked the food. I liked everything. It was actually easy. Since I was leaving there I was always speaking Spanish, so that wasn't even an issue either. It's been okay.

      Return to Mexico

    5. Sergio:        I see you have a Cowboys hat on. Are you a fan?Francisco:        Yeah. I was a fan, a Cowboys fan. Actually, I went to the stadium, which is nice, big TV.Sergio:        Was it weird to go to the stadium and then have so many people around you?Francisco:        No. Since I was living there, since I was a little kid, I wasn't afraid, even talking Spanish, talking Spanish with the cops or anything. There's no racial profiling like they make it seem on the news. It's not like that, or maybe I've got the luck of not having that.

      time in the US, sports, favorite teams, Dallas Cowboys

    6. Sergio:        Was there ever a moment when you were in the States that you felt American?Francisco:        Well, yeah, most of the time. You know you're not American, but you feel like one. The only difference is that you can’t go out of the country, and that's it, and you don't get any paid benefits.

      reflections, identity, american

    7. Sergio:        What was the favorite part of the US that you visited?Francisco:        The favorite one? I will have to say Florida. It was really nice. They've got Disney World in Orlando. They've got Disney World and then Universal Studios. It was actually nice out there. That, and then Texas, but no, it was better over there in Florida, because they've got the beach.

      Time in the US, florida

    8. Sergio:        What judge did you talk to?Francisco:        I talked to a city judge from _____. He was giving me my charges, and he told me that he was going to let me go, that I had to go back to the court date to face my charges, but I never got to it because immigration got me.Sergio:        When did they get you?Francisco:        They got me when the police released me. That's when immigration got me. They just passed us through. You get released, so they release you, but since you're still in custody, immigration goes and picks you up, because they know you're illegal.Sergio:        It was like a handoff?Francisco:        Yes.Sergio:        They turned you over to ICE?Francisco:        Mm-hmm (affirmative), that's correct.Sergio:        Then what happened?Francisco:        They took me to the immigration center, detention center, and then I spent there nine months fighting my case, trying to stay legal. Then at the end, I didn't win, I lost, so they sent me back.

      time in the US, arrests, misdemeanors, traffic offenses, immigration offenses; leaving the US, detention, reasons, traffic violation, alcohol, police, arrest; leaving the US, court proceedings, judge, trial; leaving the US, ICE, treatment by

    9. Sergio:        Did anything happen to you that you thought was unfair, you thought was violating your rights?Francisco:        The only thing that I think was unfair is the judge. He had his decision made before he even saw me, and then he made me wait so much time, not to do anything. I would rather have him be like, "Hey, you know why you're not going to apply for anything? You're not going to apply for anything because you don't qualify for anything. You might as well just leave." To me, that was just the hardest part, to be there trying to do it the right way, making it the right way, just so they can tell me no, wasting so much time in there. That was the hard part.

      leaving the US, detention, court proceedings, judge, case, trial

    10. Sergio:        How did you end up back in Mexico?Francisco:        Well, they sent me back. It was a voluntary departure, so that's why I'm here. That's why I'm back.Sergio:        You said you were driving, and you had a ...Francisco:        Yeah. Well, actually, I was at a party and I drank too much. I took off. I wasn't feeling right, so I stopped my car and fell asleep. A cop saw me, and since I had my keys in the ignition, they said I was driving, so they took me and gave me a DUI.

      leaving the US, reason for return, voluntary departure; time in the US, arrests, misdemeanors, traffic offenses, immigration offenses

    11. Sergio:        What's your least favorite thing about the US, or your worst memory?Francisco:        My worst memory from the States is that I couldn't travel, probably. Yeah. Let's say that I wanted to go to Spain. I couldn't go, because if I left, I wouldn't be able to come back, so that was probably the worst thing.

      time in the us, immigration status, lost opportunities; reflections, the United States, worst parts of US

    12. Sergio:        Did you ever think about your status while going through school? Was that ever on your mind?Francisco:        It wasn't in my mind when I was through school. When I finished and I wanted to get a job, that's when it started getting into my mind.Sergio:        How did it affect you?Francisco:        Well, I couldn't get a job anywhere. If I wanted to get a job, I had to go do it illegally, so I didn't have as much opportunity as other people my age.

      time in the US, immigration status, living undocumented, not knowing status, visas, lost opportunities

    13. Sergio:        What are some of the memories you have of them?Francisco:        We used to have this teacher in high school. He was into things, like outdoors and hiking. We actually went to the mountains to hike with him. That's why I remember him.Sergio:        You went to mountains to hike with the teacher?Francisco:        Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.Sergio:        What was that like?Francisco:        It was actually nice, because the mountains, they're not far. It's probably an hour to get up there. Then once you get up there, you can see the whole city. It was really nice.Sergio:        How did that happen, that you got to go hiking with your teacher?Francisco:        I like to do things outside from school, and he liked to do things, so we got together and we went. It was a group. It was just me. It was just a group, and yeah, we went.

      time in the US, school, high school, teachers, field trips; time in the us, pastimes, hiking

    14. Sergio:        Do you remember your first day in the United States?Francisco:        I do remember my first time in the States. I do remember, because when I got out of the plane, the heat. The heat was really, really, really hot in there. It was choking me. Yeah, and everything's different. The people are different, the culture is different, everything's different. Yeah, I do remember. It was really, really hot.Sergio:        What's one of your first good memories of the US?Francisco:        One of my first good memories is when I went to school. The school over there is different. A bus goes and picks you up to your house, and then after that you get to eat breakfast. You get to play around, you get to eat again, and then they take you back home. Actually, that's one of the first good memories that I have from out there.

      time in the us, arriving in the us, first impressions; time in the us, school, elementary

    15. Francisco, the first question I have is, why did your family leave from Mexico to the United States in the first place?Francisco:        My family left to the States because they thought it was a better opportunity for me growing up. That's why they left to the States.

      Mexico before the US, migration from mexico, reasons, economic, opportunity

  5. migration-encounters-prototype.netlify.app migration-encounters-prototype.netlify.app
    1. Sergio:        Is getting a job hard?Rogelio:        Not really. I like to learn. I learn quick and I like to learn new stuff. I mean, that was pretty simple. Just getting my papers was hard for me because I didn't know where to go get them. I didn't know places. My grandparents are kind of old, so I wouldn't count on them.

      Return to mexico, challenges, records. documents

    2. Sergio:        How much were you paid for your most current job or your current job?Rogelio:        This AT&T job I just had, I was getting paid 1500 every month and bonuses. Basically one is from vales from spencar at a restaurant.Sergio:        So this was a thousand five hundred pesos or 15,000 pesos?Rogelio:        15 or like ... Was it like 1500 pesos?Sergio:        So a thousand 500 for a month?Rogelio:        No, it would be ... it was it dies mil y... Sergio:        quince mil [15,000]?Rogelio:        Yeah.Sergio:        Kind of nice.Rogelio:        Yeah. That was the best paying job, this one.

      return to mexico, jobs, call centers, opportunity, earnings

    3. Rogelio:        I was at Teletech for about ... almost three years. But then I had an accident and I got fired from Teletech.Sergio:        So where are you now?Rogelio:        Right now I was working at AT&T.Sergio:        So AT&T. Also a call center?Rogelio:        Yeah.

      Return to Mexico, jobs, occupation, call centers

    4. Sergio:        Have you worked for pay? Have they paid you to work?Rogelio:        Like companies?Sergio:        Like a job, yeah.Rogelio:        Yeah. I mean, I've been working all this time, which is like.Sergio:        What jobs have you had? Here.Rogelio:        The factories, like our cotton factories. I worked for [inaudible 00:11:17] where they make the [inaudible 00:11:22] for the buildings. I worked for the airport, which is on Puebla. I was in the Continental Airlines since I was bilingual. From there, I started working at a school. Basically, I was a security for a night shift. I don't know. I just like to get to know other type of jobs. Then I came here. Actually, after that school job, I was working at the [inaudible 00:11:51] where they make their houses to like painting historic buildings and stuff. And then I came to Mexico, I started working for Honda.

      Return to Mexico, jobs, occupation

    5. Sergio:        So you were detained. How long were you detained for?Rogelio:        Around two, about two years, two years and a half.Sergio:        That was in immigration or was that in jail?Rogelio:        In jail.Sergio:        And then how about in immigration?Rogelio:        About six months.Sergio:        So it was two years and six months total?Rogelio:        Yeah. I was in immigration. I was fighting the case. I didn't know nobody over here. And my daughter, I mean, I was fighting to stay there but ...

      Leaving the US, detention

    6. What cities did you live in in the US?Rogelio:        I lived in South Central California.Sergio:        South Central.Rogelio:        Gardena, California. That was basically my hometown, Gardena.

      time in the US, states, california

  6. migration-encounters-prototype.netlify.app migration-encounters-prototype.netlify.app
    1. Isabel:        Do you, looking back, regret any decisions you made or...Jose:        Well I can't say regret, but yeah I've made my bad choices in life. I feel like everything happens for a reason based on whether it's going to make you stronger or weaker. That's all I see. I don't really depend on anyone right now, because of my period of time. I've been through a lot.

      Reflections, feelings, Regret, sadness

    2. So you got your GED, you graduated high school. So your GED, how did you get that? Was that night class or?Jose:        My GED?Isabel:        Yeah.Jose:        It was to get the job at Pearl Beach.Isabel:        Oh, okay.Jose:        I needed my diploma, so I left regular school and went straight to GED. And I graduated at two months, three months, with my GED.Isabel:        Oh, wow. Nice.Jose:        Yeah.

      Time in the US, school, GED

  7. Jul 2021
    1. Anne: In terms of you said you know you had dreams when you were in the US. What about dreams now? What are your dreams now?Miguel: I would love to go back. That's my main dream. Like going back, I can focus on working, saving money. I know people out there and not necessarily in big music industries or anything like that, but I know people out there that could possibly help me better that part of music. I like music, I like working on cars and everything that has to do with a car, like the motor, paint, interior, stereo, anything. I like things like that. So I feel like I have a greater opportunity in regards to education out there for me to be able to accomplish that.Miguel: I feel like I would have the tools that I would need, the resources that I would need out there to become a better person and become a successful person than out here. Out here is like you're limited. And if you are better than someone, they try to pull you down from there. So it's like “oh this guy's too good, let's not have him here.” It's like jealousy and things like that. Favoritism, a lot of favoritism goeson in places like this. I try to get along with everybody, and there’s a lot of people out here like “man he's a homosexual.” Like so?

      reflections, dreams

    2. My dreams, I like music. I like to rap, I like to sing. And something that I was doing out there as well. You know, It's so easy to get a hold of a laptop and a microphone and do things formally. And out here, it's impossible. And I've done some music out here. And it's hard to do anything with it without any money, without knowing anybody. And out there, I had a lot of friends out there that, "Hey, let's go to your house. And we can record and we can do this."

      reflections, dreams

    3. Miguel: And when he took all this into consideration, he saw them, and he really pretty much said, "Okay, well it doesn't seem like they're just people out there not causing trouble, right?. They're looking for it." So I think that's why he decided a year and a day. But then again, it was also to send me to a state Prison, which that stays on your record, which did affect me in my immigration status. If it would have been a misdemeanor, I still could have been able to bail out in immigration, but with the felony, I didn't have an opportunity, not even for voluntary departure, nothing like that. That kinda made me more, it did stress me out a lot.

      arrests, felonies, violent crimes; immigration status, broken system; feelings, fear, legal status

    4. So that was always like my strengths too, being bilingual. And learning things. I'm a visual learner. And I learned a lot of things in a lot of ways, but I can like just see you do something and I can learn it.

      time in the us, jobs/employment/work, bilingual; reflections, what mexico has gained, what the US has lost

    5. And then the earthquake came, I think it was around 1994-95 there was a big earthquake out there in California. And after that, things started going a little bit downhill because my parents were without a job. But what they did was they gathered a lot of cardboard like recycle. They recycled a lot of things. And that was like their main source of income, was going out in the mornings and getting cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, beer bottles, aluminum cans, glass bottles and recycling.Miguel: So that was what they started to do after the earthquake, because before the earthquake they actually worked for a painting company. So their job was stable, they had an income every week and things like that. But after that, it was really hard for them to get a job.

      Time in the US, family, parents, jobs, homelife;

    6. Miguel: I remember that school. I remember McDonald's a lot. Eating McDonald's when we're younger, they actually were able to take us to Disneyland as well. A few years later, they took us to Disneyland. This is in California, after the earthquake, there was an earthquake and we had to move. And that's when we migrated to Portland, Oregon.

      States, California, Oregon; food

  8. migration-encounters-prototype.netlify.app migration-encounters-prototype.netlify.app
    1. Claudia:        Yeah. How would you characterize the experience that you have in Mexico so far?Jayden Lee:        Like from a scale to one to 10, or like...Claudia:        However you want to talk about it.Jayden Lee:        I mean, I'm not saying... I'm not complaining, "Oh my God. It's very horrible." Every experience leads to a point of life. I think if I wouldn't have come to Mexico, I wouldn't have grown as Jayden. I wouldn't have grown as a transgender woman. I wouldn't have grown just as a person. And if I would've stayed in the US, maybe I would've grown further, or maybe I would've been stuck in a place, you know because of my immigrant situation. And here in Mexico, I don't have limits. I don't have a government that tells me, “you can't do this because you're an immigrant.” I do have a government telling me what not to do, right? [chuckle]

      Reflections, Mexico, best parts about being back; feelings, freedom

    2. Claudia:        I don't know, like if you're comfortable with telling me what the difference is, if you've experienced it, between being a trans woman in the United States versus being a trans woman in Mexico.Jayden Lee:        Okay. Being a trans woman in the US, it's... Because I was very little, so I think it wasn't that obvious. I mean, there were some people who are homophobic, but not as much as here. I think you could have gone to the police, and like they will back you up. You can go to your school and they will back you up. And if you go here, there is no one to back you up. Like you have to build that strong, independent woman inside, just a person that won't tolerate that.Claudia:        Yeah.Jayden Lee:        And I think that's why psychology here is like way different.Claudia:        Yeah.Jayden Lee:        And trans women here are way different from trans women back in the USA.

      identity, transgender, LGBTQ; cultural differences

    3. Jayden Lee:        I do. I remember my teacher, ____ and she was my English teacher, and a few others that... right now, I can’t think of their names, but also, my ESL teacher, my math teacher. My history teacher was so nice to me. He knew I was an immigrant. Like none of them knew. Basically, none of my closest friends knew. Also, because I was afraid of, if I tell them, what if they go tell someone, and I get deported, you know?Claudia:        But you knew?Jayden Lee:        I knew I was an immigrant. I was so happy when I also got my driver's permit. I was like, "Oh my God. I feel like an American."

      immigration status, living undocumented, learning status; reflections, identity; time in the US, documents, driver's license

    1. Jesus: Well, I like art. I like a lot of art. I like painting and creating things. I wanted to be an engineer because I think it would be really good, good help to society, make things a lot easier and better, more creative. The transportation system here sucks. It's good, because you can get it anywhere at any time, but it's contaminating the whole city. So, I gotta make some other things change. I think I would be able to help in that kind of sense, if I was to know all the engineering part of it.

      pastimes, art, painting/sculpture/drawing; reflections, dreams

    2. Jesus: Yeah, because I mean, what I noticed in the States was you don't even know your neighbor at times. You don't even know the people that live two houses down. So how are you supposed to open up to somebody when you don't even know the person that lives next to you? Here, people know each other, so that forms a sense of community, I guess. You know your neighbors and everything. But over there, everybody is just in their own world. Everybody's stuck in their own thing, looking out for their own lives. You have to work for yourself. You've got to take care of yourself, and everything's more independent. But if you took a chance to get to know your neighbor and your other neighbor, they might be able to help you on things you might need help on. I think that's where you should start, just by getting to know your neighbor, getting to know the whole block and getting know the whole street, and then everybody just knows everybody, and it makes it safer.

      reflections, mexico, best parts about being back, what the US can learn

    3. Jesus: Well, I want to visit here in Mexico first because I heard there's a lot of nice beaches and a lot of super nice places to go to. The forest and pyramids and stuff. I've been to a few, but I want to go to a lot more. Then after that, I want to go to Canada, so I could study. I want to be a pilot.Lizzy: Cool. So, you want to go to school for that in Canada?Jesus: Yeah, because out here, it's super expensive. It's like two million pesos.Lizzy: Oh, wow.Jesus: Yeah. I don't think I can make it. [Chuckles].Lizzy: Is that something you're planning on doing soon, or when do you think you'll try to do that?Jesus: Well, it has to be soon, because I'm getting older. [Both laugh].Lizzy: Is there an age limit on being a pilot?Jesus: Probably, but I want to be more like a personal pilot, so I could have my own plane and fly wherever I want.Lizzy: Yeah, not so much flying the big commercial airline?Jesus: That would be nice, too. Boeing and stuff. That'd be super dope. But it would be more for private, a private thing. I could just have my plane and fly wherever. After that, I'm going to go to Greece.

      reflections, dreams

    4. Was your Spanish still good when you returned here, or had you lost some of it?Jesus: It's the basic because I don't really know how to write it.Lizzy: Yeah, because you learned to write in school writing in English.Jesus: Yeah. So, I don't know how to pronounce it sometimes, I don't know a few words. You could be telling me something, I don't even know what the hell you're talking about. Yeah. It's different. [Chuckle].

      Return to Mexico, challenges, language

    5. Lizzy: In what ways is the lifestyle different here from the US?Jesus: Well, what I miss the most is the food. It's super multicultural over there, you can get all kinds of food from every single place in the world practically. You get Asian, you get Arab, anything you want, you can get it, and everything tastes good. Right here, it's all the same food. And it’s like, “Ugh.”Lizzy: What food do you miss the most?Jesus: What I would cook. [Laughs]. Yeah, because you would have all the ingredients at the palm of your hands. Here, you can't even get pepper. They only get crushed or in little balls.Lizzy: So, it's harder to find the stuff you need for cooking?Jesus: Yeah. It's just all the same stuff. Chicken. They don't even have different kinds of cuts of meats, stuff like that. Everything's super expensive.

      return to mexico, challenges, cultural differences; reflections, time in the US, favorite parts of US, food

    6. Jesus: Well, it's still strenuous living here, because they don't pay you that good. I got this job right here which is bilingual, Teletech.Lizzy: Yeah, Teletech.Jesus: Yeah, so they're paying all right. Seven thousand every two weeks. Here in Mexico, it's good, because even teachers don't even get paid like that.

      Return to Mexico, challenges, economic well-being; return to mexico, jobs, call centers, opportunity

    7. Lizzy: Then, what about high school? What was high school like?Jesus: It was interesting. It was really fun. [Laughs]. I had a bunch of friends. I had all kinds of friends. I had the rocker friends, the emo friends, the gang bangers, everybody like that.Lizzy: Were there a lot of gangs at your school or in your neighborhood?Jesus: I think my school mostly. My neighborhood, I didn't really see it because it was suburbs—it was sort of the suburbs. It was like, this side is all calm, and then from the other side, passing Lennox and stuff, that's where all the gangs were at. I got saved from that.

      time in the US, gangs, resisting affiliation; time in the US, school, high school, making friends

    8. Hablar español e inglés.


    9. Lizzy: Do you remember, what did you think about the U.S.? Do you have a memory of your first time seeing it or that first day?Jesus: I remember when we barely came through the border, we stopped at a gas station, and the guy bought me a drink and a Snickers. It was like a SoBe, and I remember that drink really a lot because after that I would always drink it. It's one of my favorites. [Chuckles].Lizzy: So, it's been your favorite since day one?Jesus: Yeah. I remember that, and then I remember going on the highway, and just seeing everything and everything looked super nice and stuff. [Chuckles].

      time in the US, arriving in the US, first impressions; states, california

    1. Anne: How do you think living in the US for sixteen years, how did it change you?Many: Well, living in the United States, it was very nice. It was amazing because I have a lot of friends on United States, and the culture. I like the way people live in the United States and everything. I have a lot of friends, white boys and black guys. I have a lot of friends and they was real, real nice friends. They helped me a lot when I have a bad situation. Remember when I told you that this girl left me with the kids?Anne: Yeah.Many: So, I have a lot of friends. They was helping me out with kids. I have a good memories of living on the United States than here in Mexico because in Mexico, it's nice, it's beautiful in Mexico, but I don't know. There's something wrong in Mexico. There's something different. I don't know how I can explain to you, but it's something that I don't feel comfortable living here in Mexico because... I don't know if it's the government. Sometimes we don't have the same opportunities here being the Mexicans, living in Mexico.

      reflections, values, the United States, favorite parts of US

    2. Anne: So, what are your dreams now that you're back?Many: Well, my dream, I have just one. The only dream that I have is to see my kids one more time. That's it. That's all I want. I don't ask for more. I don't ask for anything. To be honest and to be real, I know that I'm not going to come back to United States. And I know that they're never going to come back to Mexico.

      reflections, dreams, family, family separation

    3. Many: She told me that if I can get a conversation with somebody, I told her, “I can, I do.” So she take me to the place where I did the application and everything. So, that's when I started working on the call center three years ago. Three and a half years ago.Anne: Do you enjoy it?Many: It's cool. It's cool because I met a lot of people from the States, they've been through almost the same situation like me. So, I feel comfortable talking with people, they know how I feel. And I know how they feel because, some of them, they have the same situation. Not exactly the same, but almost the same. They left behind all parents, kids, their lives. So I feel comfortable.

      return to mexico, jobs, call centers, community, opportunity

    4. Many: Yeah, because I didn't have anything, no papers, nothing to work with. So it was the only job available by that time. It was the only time. When my mom knew about the surgery and everything, they were telling me that they want to come back to take care of me. But I used to tell them no because they already have a life in the States. So if they come back here, they're going to start all over again like me. So it was going to be very difficult for her too to start all over again. So, I told my mom, "Just stay there. Don't worry about me. I'm going to be okay. I just got out of the hospital and the doctor told me that everything is okay." Because they was asking these... Well, there was questions about, if I hear good, if I can talk correctly, if I can move my hand, my face and everything. When I passed the test he say, "Okay, well, you ready to go."

      return to mexico, jobs; return to mexico, challenges, family separation

    5. Many: Well, when I came here, when I went back, it was hard for me to find a job because I didn't have any papers, any ID or anything like that. So, the only thing that I can do was—I know how to drive—one of my friends offered me to work with him with a taxi and they gave me one. They gave me a car to work for them. It was the first job that I have in Mexico after getting deported. I started working in taxi and about three months after the deportation, I got an assault for these guys. Like I was telling you, they was two kids. They were like twenty years old, I think. I think they were using drugs or something like that. They were high.Many: So, one of them, they had a gun and I hear one of them told this guy to shoot me, "Shoot him, shoot him." And the other guy, I remember his face through the mirror. I remember him. I was watching him and he was looking at me. And he was pointing on the back of my head. So after that, I don't remember. I don't remember because they shot me. And they take me to like in a hill and they dumped me out of the car. They take the car, they take the money and they put me on the ground.

      return to mexico, challenges, employment, crime and violence, records/transcripts.diploma; return to mexico, jobs, occupation

    6. Many: Well, a year and half. I lost everything pretty much. I lost everything. I lived there for almost fourteen, fifteen years, and I had to start all over again in Mexico. This is hard because when I left from here, I was fifteen. When I came back, I was thirty-one. So, everything was different for me—it was like you start a new life. It was the same thing when I went to United States when I was fifteen. So when I came here, everything was very difficult for me to get a job because I don't have any papers, I don't have any friends. I don't have family.Anne: Your family had left?Many: Yeah, because all the family was in Texas. So, when I came here, I went to the place where we used to live because I know a few guys from my—let's call it from my neighborhood. So, I just know a few guys. They helped me a lot. It was difficult. It's still difficult to live here without a family because sometimes I saw a lot of people with, especially around here, guys with kids walking around the park and everything. I wish I can go back in time and take my kids to a park or somewhere. But I can't, I had to get used to it.

      feelings, regret; reflections, the United States, worst parts of US, deportation, family separation; return to mexico, challenges, family separation, records/transcripts/diploma; return to mexico, family relationships, those who stayed in the US

    7. Many: Yeah, it's hard. It's hard to live like that because my dream, when I crossed the border, was have a good life, try to change my life. But after that, I didn't regret it but I think would be better if I would stay in Mexico because, I don't know how I explain to you, the reason that I crossed the border, I was trying to change something in my life. Something that I don't have when I was here in Mexico, but when I went to San Antonio, what I found it was just... How you call it? How do you say? It was not what I want. I lost my family, I've lost a few years of my life.

      feelings, regret, isolation; reflections, the United States, worst parts of US, dreams; family

    8. Many: Yeah, I love my family and I was too lonely. Well, I feel lonely in Texas. I used to live with my uncle, but it's not the same. I miss my mom, and my dad, and my brothers. So I helped them to cross the border because we can live together again. So, we helped them because my uncle helped me too. So we helped them to take them back to San Antonio, that's where all my family right now it's in Texas.Anne: Did they come visit you when you were in jail?Many: No, because by that time, they don't have any official IDs or something. So that's why they can't come and visit me. And my kids, they can't let my kids visit me because they need somebody to take them, like their mom. Her mom, she didn't want to.

      feelings, isolation, sadness

    9. Many: Well, they put me on a detention center in San Antonio, Texas for one month and then after that... They was trying to give me some more time because I just got out of jail. But immigration just tell me, "You're not going to do any more time. We're going to deport you for twenty years and you can’t come back because if you got caught on the border or something again, we're going to..." They told me they were going to give me, I think three years or something on jail. And they do, I think they will do

      Leaving the US, Detention, reasons, traffic violation; ICE, treatment by

    10. Many: After she takes the kids, I was living by myself and I used to drink a lot. When she left me, I was drinking every day. And one day I went out and I went to my friend's house, and the cops pull over and I don't have a license, I don't have anything. They take me to jail. And I know I was doing wrong because I shouldn't drink and drive because this is a karma, I know that. So, take me to jail and then they just find out that I was barely, that I just got out of jail for... They sent me back to Mexico. They sent me back. In 2012, that's when they sent me back to the border. After that, I haven't seen my kids for ten years, I think.

      Leaving the US, reason for return, deportation; time in the US, arrests, misdemeanors, traffic offenses; drugs, taking; documents, driver's license

    11. Many: No, they never pressed charges on me. I don't know why. If they want to get rid of me, it was the best time to do that. Just press charges on me and put me in jail for a long time so they can start living their life together, but no, they never pressed charges on me.Anne: So, you get sentenced for about a year, did you say?Many: A year and a half.

      time in the US, arrests, jail, prison

    12. Many: One day, I went back home, and her cousin tell me, "You know what? I don't want to tell you this, but your wife is with this guy in his house because we saw the car.” They saw the car at this guy's house. I got mad and got sad because I can't... That happened because I never have time to solve the problem. After that, I went to this guy's house and I pulled up my truck and started kicking the doors because I know she was in there because her car was on that place. So, I started kicking doors and everything. When I break into the house, I saw them, those guys on the bed. So it was kind of a shock for me to see something like that. I was thinking to just go away and not doing nothing, that happened in my mind, that person in my mind. But then when I see this guy is laughing in front of me, I don't know, it made me mad. It made me so mad. So I started hurting him. I started fighting with him. After that, she jumped on me too. She started hitting me too, and I was fighting with her and then with him at the same time.Many: Every time when she was pulling my hair or when she was slapping me, I was feeling like this relationship is just… I mean, it's over. It's done. We're never going to fix something like this. I can do nothing to fix this right now. By that point, I can't. What happened, I just leave them and I walk away. Like I was telling you, as soon as I closed the door, police was there just waiting for me outside. So I started talking with one of the police officer and we were just having a good conversation because I explained to them the situation. My wife, she was cheating on me. Well, the thing is the police officer can't help. They had to take me to jail because I committed crimes. I went to jail

      Time in the US, arrests, police: US; time in the US, relationships, break-ups; time in the US, family, divorce

    13. Anne: You enjoyed your life in Atlanta with the kids?Many: Yeah. Everything was really nice. To live with my family, it was really nice because I never had the experience before with my real family, with my mom and my dad, with my brothers. So I tried to do my best in order to give them what I didn't have at that time, when I was young. So I was just trying to change the way I used to live. I was trying to give my kids another life. I was just kind of patient with my family. I tried to work every single day to provide my family with a good life. I tried to give them a good education. I tried to give them nice advice to my kids, teach them to be respectful with the rest of the people, especially with the brothers, with their mom and everybody. When I remember this, when I start talking about this, my mind just gets crazy, it starts going back. So yeah, it was pretty cool to live with them. I lived with them for almost ten years and then I got deported.

      Time in the US, family, children; Reflections, the United States, favorite parts, values

    14. Anne: Did you ever get in trouble with like gangs or anything like that?Many: No. Actually, (where we lived) it's a nice small town where it's not too much violence there. It's not too many people. So, no, I never related with gangs and everything because I was too young when I got married, so I didn't have time. I knew people they were related with these kind of gangs and groups, but I just talk to them for a little bit and then that's it. I never get into a gang or something. I like tattoos. You can see. I love tattoos because I like to draw a lot. I like tattoo too.Anne: You can do it yourself?Many: Yeah, some of them. Yes ma'am.

      Time in the US, gangs, resisting affiliation; time in the US, tattoos, meaning; Time in the US, pastimes, art, painting/sculpture/drawing

    15. Many: We moved to Atlanta in 2002, I think? Yeah, 2002. I have another uncle in Atlanta. He worked in landscaping. He was just barely working on his own. He got his own company, he just told me to go with him to work. So that's why is—Anne: Was that a good move?Many: Yeah, it was fun.


    16. Many: By that time, I was working in landscaping. The first years, I was just doing anything—I was just helping my uncle washing dishes, I used to help one of my friend's mom because she used to work in a motel. So, on the weekends I used to go to do housekeeping service. Clean the rooms, clean the bathrooms, making beds and vacuum, and everything. And then, like two years later, I started working in a landscaping company.Anne: Did you like that work?Many: I loved it. I love to create waterfalls. I used to do all that. Flower beds and everything. I used to work a lot with the rock. I used to build flower beds and ponds and plant a lot of trees and everything, fences.

      Time in the US, careers, landscaping; Time in the US, jobs/employment/work, occupations

    17. Many: Well, when I started working, I just saved a little bit of money to give me an apartment so I can take her, we can live together. So we just found our own place.Anne: So, soon after she got pregnant?Many: She got pregnant when she was seventeen and I was eighteen, when our first daughter was born. She was seventeen and I was eighteen when we got the first baby.

      Time in the US, relationships, falling in love, having children, creating families

    18. Many: Yeah, I met this girl at school. She was fifteen years old, I was sixteen. You know when you see somebody, and you have like a click or something on the first time? It was something like that. I was in love with this girl. So I started dating her and then after that, we got married. We got married with her mom’s permission because she can’t get married. So, we got married and then we went back to Mexico to get married here.Anne: She was a US citizen?Many: Yeah, she was born in Texas.Anne: And then you had to go back to the States after the wedding?Many: After the wedding, she went back first and then I just told her that it was going to take me about two hours in order to go back with her because I have to cross the border. I think it was around eight o’clock when she crossed the border in the morning. So around twelve, I was with her, like twenty miles from the border in United States. I do the same thing, I went to the bridge for the train and I do the same thing. I get into the train. I was kind of crazy. Well, I was young and in love. I was young and in love, so that's why.

      Time in the US, relationships, falling in love

    19. Anne: Where did you end up living with him? Which part of Texas?Many: I used to live with him and his wife in San Antonio, Texas.


    20. Many: Well, back in 1995, it was kind of easy. It was easy to cross the border. What I do, I just jumped onto the train on this side of Mexico and I just wait for the train to cross the bridge and like four hours later, I was in Corpus Christi, Texas. So, everything was new for me. I didn't know what I had to do to go with my uncle, but I just find some people who speak Spanish and they helped me to call my uncle and just let him know that I was in Corpus Christi and he just go on and pick me up. That's what happened.

      Migration from Mexico, border crossing

    21. Anne: Was it hard leaving your family behind?Many: Yeah. I wish I can take my mom, I wish I can take my brothers with me, but I think that I had to do this by myself first in order to help them. I had to go first to get money in order to bring them with me. It was harder because my sister, she was just like four years old. My brothers, was like seven and eight years old. So it was really hard to tell them bye. It was hard.

      Mexico before the US, family relationships, those who stayed in Mexico; Mexico before the US, mexican childhood, family, family separation

    22. Many: I wanted to live the way I used to see on the TV. Like I used to see other kids with a different life, with a good life, with a very nice house, nice car. I don't know, a girlfriend, things like that. I was thinking about my life and I say, "Man, I can't stay here in Mexico, I just want to go there and see what happens." So that's why I take the bus and I didn't think about anything, I just take a little bit of money and went to the train station and I just go.

      Mexico before the US, Migration from Mexico, reasons, opportunity

  9. Jun 2021
    1. Anita: Do you write?Luis: Do I write? When I was in high school, I was in theater, and I loved it, but no, I never. I like drawing more. I draw most of the time. No, I don't write. I would like to but yeah—

      pastimes, writing

    2. I was working in a call center at that time and mostly for returnees, it's mostly that. Work in a call center and that's it. You're good. But to be honest, it's pretty horrible. It sucks working in one of those places because you're basically one of those, they call them pochos, you're basically one of those kids that, it's not Mexican, it's not a U.S. citizen. So, you're kind of in the middle and no one kind of knows how to treat you. So it's weird. And I was just down there smoking, thinking, "Hey, is this going to be my whole life? Am I going to keep working in this kind of stuff?"

      return to mexico, jons, call centers, community, dead end; reflections, identity

    3. Anita: And since you've been back? Have you gone back to school?Luis: No, I left all my documents. I left all my diplomas and stuff, they are over there. I tried to go back to school, or preparatoria as they call it here, but, nope, I can't go back because I don't have anything that proves that I was studying. For the Mexican government, I'm just a nobody. You have your little paper that shows that you were born here, but that's it. You don't have any other thing that proves you are a citizen or stuff like that. Luckily, I was able to print out that little card that shows that you're a… You know, the card to vote, that kind of stuff? But that's it. That's pretty much it. But yeah. I'm trying to live every day trying to not to think about it too much.

      return to mexico, challenges, continuing education, records/transcripts/diploma

    4. Anita: Do you like life right now?Luis: I like it so far. I mean it's not quite there, but it's not quite here either. I don't know if that makes much sense. I know things can never go back the way they used to be, and I know that things are always changing, but I think I just have to accept it and I just have to get over it.

      return to mexico, challenges

    5. Luis: I sure hope so because if I could, I’d go back and sit and tell him how much I love him, how much I was grateful for him raising me, of making me the man that I am today. I just feel so much regret of not doing the things that I was supposed to do. You know?Anita: He'd be pretty proud of you if he could hear you now.Luis: I hope. Whenever they talk about heaven or hell or stuff like that, I don't really believe in God or something like that, but if it exists, God, I sure hope he's not angry with me.Anita: He’s not angry at you. He loved you deeply. You were a good kid.Luis: Yeah, thanks. [Pause]. I'm sorry. I just, I don't know how to deal with this. I still don't know how to deal with this.

      feelings, regret, grief, love; family, grandparents

    6. Luis: She greeted me in one of those horrible, no-one-knows-the-name-of- cities of Durango, so we just bought some tickets and we went into Mexico City. I remember at the time that I saw her, she just started crying because she said, “Look at how big you are. You look so handsome." And I was like this. I didn't know what to say. She started crying and she said, "I'm so sorry that he had to die for us to get back together. I'm sorry that my father had to die. I'm so sorry." But that was it. That was pretty much it. That's the story of how I got back in here and it's just that knowing that I'm never going to have the chance of saying sorry I—

      family, family reunification, parents, grandparents, grief

    7. Luis: But no, I don't know if it was luck, I don't know what the hell it was, but no one catch me. No one saw that I was crossing. I don't know why there was a lot of fucking trucks, there was a lot of people running around border just making their patrols and stuff. But I don't know, I just didn't want to be caught because I knew for some guys that when they got caught, they just beat the shit out of them, and they just bring them back to Mexico. But no, I just didn't get caught. I crossed the fence. And I started running as fast as I could.

      Leaving the US, reason for return, family reunification

    8. She sent me some money. She sent me like 150 bucks, $150 something like that. She sent it in Mexican pesos. So I had to change it at a bank and I just took a bus near the border and I crossed by myself. I heard from a guy that chocolate and chiles secos are the thing to keep you warm at night because, holy shit, in the desert the fucking nights were horrible. It was horrible. It was hell. If I'm honest with you, it was hell.Anita: On your way home?Luis: Across the border. I just jumped the fucking fence. Didn't give a shit, but I said, "If one of these officers are going to catch me, then go ahead."Anita: But you were crossing the border to go back home?Luis: I was crossing the border to get into Sonora. When I crossed the border, I could just pretend that I was never an U.S. citizen. I can just pretend that I was never in the USA at all. I could just pretend that I'm just a Mexican kid in need or I can buy a bus ticket to wherever the fuck I'm going. My mom said, "You can just cross it. Just let an officer catch you trying to cross the border. Try to be as dumb as possible, so they can catch you."Anita: So that they would put you on a bus home.

      leaving the US, reason for return, family reunification

    9. So I spent almost three weeks by myself drinking, smoking, whatever the fuck I encountered over there. I started hanging out with those kids that he didn't want me to hang out with. I started smoking stuff that I didn't have to smoke. I started putting whatever shit I found into my body and it was horrible. Whenever I was drunk, I thought about him more and more, and I just got more and more depressed.

      feelings, grief; drugs, taking

    10. Luis: He was seventy-two when he got the cancer diagnosis. It was just, I don't know, I just feel so much regret for the last time that I saw him. I told him that I fucking hated him: "I hate your fucking guts because you kept on smoking and you knew that it was bad for you, but you kept on doing it. You didn't give a shit about me because you knew that I was… Now you know that I'm going to be alone and you didn't give a fuck. So, you kept doing it, so fuck you man." And that's the last thing that I told him. I told him to fuck himself.Luis: That's my biggest regret because he was my friend more than my dad. He was my friend. He was my best friend so I don't know, it's just, that's the last thing that I told him. And I was out with a few friends on my house. He was alone, of course, and we were drinking. I knew that I shouldn't be drinking but, you know, stupid things that kids do and stuff like that. So one of my pals came back and he said, "Hey man, so my mom told me that your pa is going to die tonight. That’s what the doctor told me.” So I just, I didn't go to the hospital. I didn't want to go. I didn't want to see him like that.

      time in the us, family, grandparents, illness, cancer; feelings, regret, grief, sadness

    11. Luis: So, it was May when they told him that he was going to die. They said, "You got three months tops man, you already have cancer in your brain so you're going to die. I'm sorry but you're going to die." And when I heard that, just… Sorry, I just start shaking whenever I remember. And I don't know, he just started making preparations for when he was not here for me.Luis: He said, "You have to find a job. Do you want to go back to your mom?" And I was like, "I don't want you to die. Why the fuck are you doing this to me?" I'm sorry, but just I was so angry at him because he always smoked. He was a smoker, he was a fucking chimney. The guy was a chimney. My grandma used to be a chimney too but [pause] him leaving me alone in there was the worst thing that could happen to me. Because I didn't know how to live by myself. I was sixteen. I didn't know what the hell was going to happen to me. So, the last time that I saw him, I saw him in his hospital bed, he said, "It's better for me to stay here. You're not going to take care of me. I don't want you taking care of me. I want to go through this alone. Okay? So I want you to keep going to school, keep doing your stuff."

      time in the US, family, grandparents, illness, cancer; feelings, sadness, isolation, grief, tragedy

    12. So, when she died, it was just horrible for both of us. I cannot describe how I felt that day. [Pause]. But mostly that didn't hurt as much as when my grandpa died. That didn't hurt as much. It was like a blow to the face when they… [Pause]. It's still hard for me to talk about this kind of stuff. So, I'm sorry if I just tell a little bit, it's just, I don't want to start crying.Anita: It's okay to cry you know.Luis: Not for me. It's okay. So, I received the news that he had cancer too. He was developing cancer.Anita: Your pa?Luis: He was developing cancer and it already had started developing. What's the name of this thing when the cells just start going crazy and they start—Anita: Metastasizing.Luis: Metastasizing. So, he had three months to live. That's what the doctor said.Anita: And how old were you then?Luis: I was about to turn sixteen.

      family, grandparents; illness, cancer; feelings, grief, sadness

    13. Anita: He said, “Don't tell anyone that you're not a U.S. citizen?”Luis: Mostly, my pa was telling me, "Hey, I know that you are proud of being American and Mexican at the same time, but don't go telling all the people that you know because most people don't get it. Most people just don't like hearing that you are not a citizen. Most people don't like hearing that you're from Mexico because whenever they hear that there's a Latino in their neighborhood, God, they go crazy. They might go batshit crazy. They're going to start rocks at you.” That's an exaggeration of course. But I've heard some horrible things that they did to people in my neighborhood. Like, I don't know, going inside their houses, trashing down their places, just that kind of stuff. There was always a fear in the back of my head which was like, “What if you tell the wrong person? What if you say something that you shouldn't have said? What if you mess up?” Living with fear is horrible. But most of the time I was okay. Most of the time it was cool.

      Time in the US, immigration status, being secretive, hiding/lying, in the shadows, living undocumented; Time in the US, discrimination/stigmatization, racism, xenophobia; feelings, fear, unbelonging; identity, bi-cultural

    14. Luis: But the worst part was knowing that I could not go back as easily as I would like to because I was not a citizen. When I was twelve, my pa used to explain to me what was I doing there, or what role I had in that society. And it was difficult because knowing that no one liked me because I didn't have any papers, all that hate that people has to refugees or foreigners. Because whenever I went to school… Here is an example. There was—I never knew her name‚ but there was a girl that's committed suicide because she was, they bullied her every day. She was bullied every single day of her life and that just made her feel horrible, like crap.Anita: Where was she from?Luis: I think she was from the Midwest. I believe she was... she practiced—I don't know the name of her religion. She was from the Midwest. So, when I heard about her, and what I heard on my high school that she was dead because of all that horrible stuff they told her, it's just like, that could've happened to me. If I didn't know my kind of friends, if I didn't have the kind of friend circle that I have, that could've happened to me. I would be feeling like crap every single day.

      Reflections, the United States, worst parts; Time in the US, school, fitting in/belonging, discrimination/stigmatization, bullying; immigration status, living undocumented, learning status

    15. Luis: Yeah. It was mostly something that I knew. If I went with one of my friends and tell him, "Hey, I'm not a US citizen. So how do you feel about it?" I knew he probably would've accepted me because we knew each other for so long, but I don't know, there was always that doubt inside of me. That like, “What if he tells all the other kids? What if they start treating me like they treated that girl over there?”Anita: So, you didn’t tell your friends?Luis: Nope. They always assumed that I was a kid that they knew from the neighborhood. So yeah, I guess I was just lucky or maybe I just remained silent.Anita: So, you kept that secret?Luis: And I think that was good.

      Time in the US, immigration status, being secretive, hiding/lying, in the shadows, living undocumented

    16. Mostly from, I don't know, people coming from Kazakhstan, or people coming like a refugee from one of those—like Syria for example. People coming like a refugee from Syria and going to another country that they don't know, but they can't stay in their own country. So I don't know. It's just that—Anita: You identified with them?Luis: Mostly. But I don't know, I think I was just lucky. I was definitely lucky because I didn't have to feel the hatred. I didn't have to feel the horror.

      identity, migrant

    17. Anita: Did you feel American?Luis: Yeah. Most of the time. Most of the time I would just feel like a white kid. But I knew, of course, that my pa was Mexican. I knew that my grandma was Mexican. I knew where they came from and I knew they're… I like to be in touch with my traditions, some traditions. We used to celebrate Día de la Independencia, the sixteenth of September. We always tune in the internet, whatever the hell they were doing in el Zócalo or stuff like that. So yeah, it was pretty good. I was in touch with some traditions. Mostly I didn't do any kind of American traditions like Thanksgiving or Christmas.Anita: You didn't?Luis: No, I didn't. No, I still don't know what the hell is wrong with Thanksgiving and stuff like that. Never liked turkey anyway. So yeah, it was good and I never suffered any kind of stuff.Anita: So, you didn't have friends who invited you over For Thanksgiving.Luis: There was one time. ____ he invited me over for Thanksgiving, but my pa was like, "I don't want you getting used to that kind of stuff because we're not going to celebrate it." I was like, "Okay." So yeah, I just went over and said hi and ate a little bit of coleslaw and that’s it. I just went out. Never liked coleslaw anyway. So, it was good. It was cool. So that was my best experience, and the bad experiences were just mostly, just hearing what was wrong with my role in the world, or where was I standing as far as a citizenship would go. I don't know how to explain that. I would say that the worst part of living in the United States was knowing that I would never be a full American. Knowing that I was not a part of America. Well, America as a continent, it's a different thing. Knowing that I was never going to be a USA citizen. Knowing that most people hate foreigners. Most people just hate people from another country.

      reflections, identity, American; time in the US, homelife, Mexican traditions, holidays; homelife, US traditions, holidays, food

    18. Shelby


    19. So, when I was five years old, they asked me if I wanted to go with my grandma, with my mama, or my papa. So I just had to choose between them. And my grandpa was not amused by that. He didn't like it, so he said, "Why don't you come with me?" He gave me that option, to a kid. "Do you want to come with me? I travel a lot and I like going to a lot of places." So, he said, "Yeah, do you want to come with me?" And I was like, "Yeah, of course!" I didn't know what the hell I was getting into to be honest. So, I arrived into ___, Utah when I was five years old, and from there, I just started to learn a little language, to hang out with different kinds of kids, to live without my mama or my dad or my brother of course. And I think that was the best part, to try to experience something new. Something new from the beginning.

      Time in the US, family, parents/step-parents, grandparents; Utah

    20. Anita: If you could think back on your experience in the U.S. what would you say is the best part of it, and what was the worst?Luis: If I had to choose the best part it would be living with my grandparents. I was five years old when they took me into the United States.Anita: Your grandparents?Luis: Yeah. So, sadly, my mom and my dad were having a lot of marital problems between them. So, the thing is that my grandpa, he didn't want me to live as he lived with his parents and stuff so, he kind of said, "I don’t know, screw it. I'm just going to go ahead and take this kid." I have a brother, but my brother was already eight years old, so he knew what was going on and he loved my mom more than anything. But I was a kid. I didn't know what the hell was going on.

      Reflections, the United States, favorite parts; family, grandparents; family, parents,

    1. Claudia: If you could have stayed in the U.S., what do you think you might have done?Yosell: I probably would have finished my university out there.Claudia: Where were you going to school?Yosell: I was studying in the University of Utah, so that was pretty interesting.Claudia: And now that you're back in Mexico, what do you think you'd like to do over here, dreams?Yosell: I just want to finish my university. When I was out in the States I would send money out here, so I have a house and stuff like that. I just want to just get done with my university and actually, you know, work on that. That's pretty much it, all the goals I do have on here. Yeah.

      Reflections, dreams

    2. Claudia: Do you consider yourself Mexican or American?Yosell: I've actually always said I consider myself Mexican. American, no, I was never that.

      Reflections, identity, mexican

    3. Claudia: Do you like T-Tech?Yosell: Yeah, it’s a pretty interesting place.Claudia: In what ways?Yosell: It kind of reminds me of the high school out in the States. That's basically that's all I can say about it. [Chuckle]Claudia: In what way does it remind you of a high school?Yosell: With all the people in there, basically it's a high school. That's how high school is out there. It just reminded me exactly like in California high school.

      Return to Mexico, jobs, call centers, community

    4. Claudia: What have you been up to in this past year and a half that you've been here?Yosell: This past year I moved in with my girlfriend, so I've been here ever since, and we met each other here. So I ended up moving out with her, and I'm trying to do my university but it's kind of hard and stuff like that.Claudia: What are you trying to study?Yosell: I was actually doing a graphic designs and stuff like that.

      Return to Mexico, education, college ; relationships, falling in love

    5. Claudia: What did you do in the States? What did you like to do for fun?Yosell: Out in the States?Claudia: Yeah.Yosell: I actually had a sponsor for snowboarding and surfing.

      Time in the US, pastimes, sports, playing, snowboarding

    6. Yosell: In the States I finished my high school out there, and I was actually studying a little bit of college, but after the dumb Trump kind of thing came in place, I was just like, "Eh." And my mom had cancer at the time—she was fighting her cancer. So I ended up just saying, "I'm going back out to Mexico to live this time and actually live out here." I ended up just coming back, and just forgetting about college over there, and came back here to Mexico to actually live. And of course I was actually helping my mom with the cancer thing.

      Time in the US, Illness

    7. Yosell: From what I do remember, I used to live in Vegas with an aunt there. I was doing my elementary school and then after that I moved out to Utah and started doing a little bit of my middle school and after that I was kind of moving around a lot of places, I guess just working—my dad got me a job working for construction. And I was doing my high school online, a kind of homeschool thing. That was pretty interesting. I would come back to Mexico quite often. I would kind of just jump the border and come see my mom, and then I jumped it again.

      Nevada, Utah

    1. Anne: What were your dreams before you were deported?Jose: Buy my little sister a house. Buying a house. It's still my dream.Anne: Where will that house be?Jose: In ___. I'm definitely going back to the States.Anne: You liked ____?Jose: Yeah. It's not really the city that I like. It's the people that lived within it. My friends and my family and the relationships I had with coworkers and stuff. The reason I would go back is not for the city itself but for the people that are there.

      Reflections, dreams

    2. So I feel like one of the best decisions for me was actually to drop out even though it bit me in the ass in the end. Yeah. I mean, a lot of people, a lot of my friends ended up joining gangs and getting shot, arrested, and all that stuff.Anne: You never did?Jose: Not for the things they were getting arrested for. I was arrested for traffic violations and stuff like that.Anne: But you never joined a gang?Jose: No.

      Time in the US, school, struggling/suspension/dropping out; gangs, resisting affiliation

    3. Like why you went, how old you were, your first impressions?Jose: Okay. I was eight and I went with my older sister, my younger brother, and my mom to reunite with my dad. My dad had been in the States for two or three years. We went back because my dad saw a potential for better life in the States and he saved up enough money to bring us out.

      Mexico before the US, migration from Mexico, reasons, family reuinification

    1. Luis: Well I don't know. I just think that the U.S.— they don't say it and it’s never going to be said—but immigration, illegal immigration in the United States is a business. They require that cheap labor. And right now the only thing that they are trying to do is just to balance things out the way they want it. Because illegal immigration is still going to be a thing, I think, forever because they need people to exploit. Because at the end of the day, we live in a capitalist society. And I understand that for me to have these Calvin Klein shoes that I bought at Payless, somebody else had suffer. For me to have a good life, somebody else needs to have a bad life and that's just how the world works. But I think that just understanding that fact and understanding that immigrant people in the U.S are more than just assets. They are people, they have dreams. They could be like a positive force for the communities. And just, I don't know. It's just as difficult, because money rules the world I guess. And at the end of the day, a lot of companies just don't care and they want cheap labor. And a lot of people just want to pay less. Just understanding that things are this way, that your wonderful life is wonderful because other people suffer. I think that's just a huge, big step towards a better, more equal society. Yeah, that's pretty much it.

      Reflections, the United States, US government and immigration

    2. Anne: What about the Mexican government? What do you think they can do? What should they be doing to help returning migrants?Luis: Well, first of all, just create something like ESL [English as a Second Language], like Spanish as a second language. I was lucky, but a lot of my peers, they can barely speak Spanish and they're supposed to be Mexican. And everything is in Spanish here—nothing is in English. At least in the States a lot of documents are in Spanish or even other languages. But in here, that's really hard. So, I would really encourage the Mexican government to create some sort of program that teaches deportees and immigrants Spanish as a second language. What else? Some sort of way to speedy up bureaucratic processes to get your birth certificate, IDs, and even bank accounts. ____ actually helps us out getting bank accounts, so that's really great. I think they could do that. What else they could do? Just exploit the skills that these people have—they speak English and they speak it incredibly well. That's just a waste of talent right there, you know?

      Reflections, Mexico, what mexico has gained; reflections, mexico, policy for reintegration, language, jobs

    3. Anne: Do you think being in the United States made you different than you would have been if you'd stayed in Mexico?Luis: Definitely. It was really bad most of the time. But those experiences made me the person that I am right now. So, I wouldn't change it. And I do think that it played a big role in building my character and my personality and in-depth values that I have.

      reflections, values, the United States

    4. Anne: Where did you get those values? Was it the U.S.? Was it family? Was it your meeting? Where do you think you got those values?Luis: Honestly, I do think it was reading. I do think it was all the books because unlike me, my family is really different. We don't listen to the same music. I'm the only one who's artistically inclined. I just think that the key to a better society is definitely education. Definitely. Because it changes lives.

      reflections, values, reading, education

    5. meeting


    6. Anne: So what are your dreams now? I mean you talked a bit about your dreams in the U.S how they kept getting sort of barriers and you'd have to cut back, what about now on your dreams?Luis: Oh, right now I'm really ambitious. I noticed that nothing's going to be given to me and I need to take what I want. So right now, I just want to be the best programmer in Mexico City. And I think I can achieve it. And even, I don't know, move somewhere else… somewhere where my values, because I have really different values from like Mexican people, I'm really disciplined, I'm really honest. I'm extremely... I don't know how to say it. I'm really different, I guess. Even when people throw cigarettes on the floor it really bothers me. So, yeah, move somewhere like, I don't know, Singapore or something, where they're really strict because that's how I am. My dream is just to maybe move with her and her family—so they can avoid so much violence as well—to somewhere else. Maybe even Canada. Canada sounds good.

      Reflections, dreams, values

    7. Luis: Yeah. So, I noticed that you cannot really be, an economist, unless you know the right people—unless you can hook up with somebody in the government. So yeah, I was doing like really menial, administrative work and I was really depressed because so much effort and coming back and just feeling stuck, just like in the U.S. That's when I web searched, how to improve my life and I found ____. I actually found ____ that way and I applied the same day. The next week I quit my job and I just started studying programming and now yeah, here I am.Anne: Do you like it?Luis: I love it.

      return to mexico, challenges, employment; return to mexico, jobs

    8. ____


    9. Luis: I mean I work at a call center, but you cannot really work and study at the same time in Mexico. Because here the idea of a part time job is six to eight hours. So that's a part time job, anyway. And the regular job is like ten hours. It's crazy. Anyway, so, I talked to my parents and they're like, “You know what, we are going to support you, while you do your university.” And at this time, I also meet a girl, she becomes my partner. She's still my partner right now. And she just encourages me to apply to a public school and we applied together and we ended up going to this university together. And five years later, we finish top of the class and yeah, it was great. There the sad part is that, the actual degree, I don't have it because they're giving me some bureaucratic problems because of my high school. So yeah, this is a ridiculous—one thing after another!

      return to mexico, jobs, call centers; return to mexico, education, college; relationships, falling in love; return to mexico, challenges, continuing education, records/transcripts/diploma

    10. So anyway, I started going into universities and trying to apply to private universities because I wasn't even sure if I was going to be eligible to going to a public university. So they keep telling me that yeah, definitely if I have the money, but that also I need to formalize my education by Mexican law, or something like that. And I didn't know anything about that. So, I had to call my big brother to go to my high school and ask for a—not my diploma, because I had it—but a transcript. And go to the Department of State and ask for an apostille thing. And he did, it took him like two years.Anne: Yes.Luis: Like he did it at the end. And yeah, I was able to get it. And then here I went to the offices, they have a high school division that takes care of that. So I went there, and I give them all of my papers and stuff. I had to translate everything and just pay some dude, some lawyer, to call me every hour because he didn't speak English. So, I basically paid him, I did his job and his assignment, and I had to pay him. Anyway, so, yeah, that happened. And after two years of struggling with that, I was able to finally have my high school accredited under Mexican law. So finally with that I get into a private university, a cheap one because I have no real income.

      Return to Mexico, continuing education, records/transcripts/diploma; return to mexico, family relationships, those who stayed in the US

    11. Luis: So I'm there and a lot of people that keep telling me, “You better be careful you're going to get kidnapped.” They just keep scaring me to the point that I like set up a decoy on my actual bed and sleep in the closet. And that is ridiculous, because nothing happened. And it was always here. And I started going to universities. I had a cousin, so he was like, “Yeah I'll drive you, or we'll go together, or whatever.” And it was really scary because like traffic here is nuts. It's like I thought I was going to have a heart attack every single time I would get on a bus or something, but I had no option

      Return to Mexico, challenges, crime and violence, cultural differences

    12. Luis: Yeah. So I was really disappointed. I just told my parents, "You know I'm out. This country doesn't want us here and my dreams keep getting obstacles and obstacles, I just can't.” They didn't want me to and for two years they were like really against it. But I mean at the end of the day I was almost over eighteen, so what could they do, right? So, I came back with the hopes of going to school, be better. I'm actually the only one in my family that has a bachelor's. [Emotional] So anyway, I come back because I want to keep studying and I want to stop that cycle of not being free to do what I want to do.

      Leaving the US, reason for return, no hope for a future in the US, higher education in Mexico; feelings, choicelessness, disappointment

    13. Luis: But the funny thing is that with all of those things, his life hasn't really improved that much. I was still going to school, paying triple, it’s okay, I don't mind—well I do mind, but I have no choice. So yeah, I'm doing that and I'm working a lot. And then after a year I realized that, what am I supposed to do? Am I really going to get into CalArts? I don't have a social, I don't have an ID, I don't even have a bank account. I don't have nothing. What am I supposed to do? And it was kind of hard because I had to give that dream away.Anne: You lost hope?Luis: Yeah, a little bit. But I mean that was really—fuck, this is the first time happening [Clearly emotional].

      Feelings, choicelessness, despair, discouragement

    14. Luis: Well, while I was in high school, the overall feeling that I got from my counselor was that “He's Mexican and he's lucky if he graduates.” Right? So I didn't even know what an SAT [Scholastic Aptitude Test] was. And then I did the research myself and I realized that I wasn't going to be able to apply to a real, a four-year college or something like that. And thankfully I met a guy from, a Puerto Rican guy, from this community college and he told me, "You know what, you can do your general ed and then you can decide on studying something.” He just approached me, and he was really nice. So I went to the community college with hopes of doing general ed and some art classes and maybe find a way to transfer to CalArts [California Institute of the Arts] and try to study animation or something like that.Anne: Okay.Luis: And I did that. And the first obstacle was that since I wasn't really a resident, or even a citizen or whatever, the fee, the tuition for, per credit was triple. So it was, I had to work a lot just to pay for mediocre education.

      Time in the US, higher education, dreaming about, applying, paying for

    15. I mean a lot of them do join gangs and do bad stuff, criminal behavior. But you didn't.Luis: No, I didn't.Anne: I didn't ever thought you would. But what do you think drives those other kids to it and why not you?Luis: I think that it was just a matter that my parents are really ignorant in terms of education—they didn't even finish elementary school—but the one thing that they did do well, is surround me and my siblings with books. I think that's like a great thing that they did. Because sometimes I was just bored of TV. And I will just go to the library—well our own personal library—and I would just grab a book. We had a bunch of good books…about sci-fi. I remember The Time Machine by Wells. What other good books? We have a lot of books, fantasy books, we had The Lord of the Rings. And I would just grab the thing. And we had a lot of math books. For some reason. I couldn't understand anything, but it was just fun looking at the—Anne: Comic books?Luis: —a lot of comic books as well. I'm a huge comic book nerd, so yeah. We had a lot of those, and I would just, surround myself in knowledge and art and whatever. I do think that expands your knowledge or like at least it gives you some sort of point of view, to realize that you don't have to necessarily comply to whatever standard society is telling you. So, I guess, at least for me, that was the difference with the people that actually join gangs. Because I think that the people that join gangs, that's a part of the environment—not solely faulty on them, but on society, because society is fostering those environments. So just, they want to feel accepted, they want to feel like they have a family in my opinion. So yeah, I think that was like the only difference. The only real difference.

      Time in the US, gangs, resisting affiliation; Family, parents, expectations; homelife, living situation; pastimes, reading, favorite genres

    16. And since I used to draw a lot, I also like street art, graffiti and stuff like that. And my backpack was actually covered with my own artwork. So they thought I was the one doing...on that neighborhood.Anne: The graffiti?Luis: [Affirmative noise]. They thought I was the one doing graffiti. So, they just warned me not to do it and not to write any offensive things on my backpack.

      Time in the US, pastimes, art, discrimination/stigmatization

    17. Luis: And the only thing that I don't like is that just because I was Mexican, they assume a lot of things. Like the first day I got into that high school, I was called to the principal's office and he asked me, "Are you in a gang? Why are you wearing those colors?" The same thing! "What colors? What do you mean?" I was wearing blue this time and then I kind of got the gist of it, right? So I told him, "Is it because of the blue? Because this is not my first time, that people are asking me these dumb questions".

      time in the US, school, discrimination/stigmatization, stereotypes

    18. Luis: But it was just misconceptions. This high school is better because it doesn't have a lot of Mexicans… just unfunded things. So yeah, I then transferred to the other one. And the ironic thing, at least for my mom, is that I didn't really have any close Mexican friends. They were immigrants, but they were not Mexicans. And it's not because I didn't wanted to. It's because, I didn't feel that I fit in with that Mexican culture. I still don't feel like I fit in with Mexican values and culture, or with American beliefs. I don't really like either. So, I ended up being really good friends with a lot of Asian people actually. Korean people have really similar experiences—Korean people, Vietnamese people, Filipinos- with Mexicans. So it was like really interesting to know all of that people. It's actually beautiful, like a beautiful cultural exchange. I think you grow as a person. And I also had like American friends. Like one of my best friends is American.

      Reflections, identity; time in the US, school, making friends

    19. But yeah, it was kind of tough. And also, the whole culture kids are not used to, or maybe just humans, they're not used to like alien things. Because I remember I didn't know to say “salad.” And when I was at lunch, I will always try to eat a salad, try to be healthy, but I didn't know it was called a salad. So, I will just call it green thingy—I think it was my go-to word for whatever I didn't know. I will just tell them, "Okay, can I have that green thingy?” And they will give it to me but they would look at me strange. And then one kid got really offended for some reason, like "It's called a salad dude do you even speak English?” And that was it, then I got really offended as well. And I was like well, "Of course not. If I would, I would call it a salad.” It was dumb. But anyway, so yeah, that was strange. Also like the promiscuity of kids in that high school was really amusing to me. It's like holy cow, twelve, thirteen year olds already doing those things?! because my family's like really, is liberal in the sense that everything's okay, but at the same time they don't talk about it. So I mean, for me it was like a real shock. And also malls—malls were super scary. My first time going into a mall was when I came back. When I was in high school. They're like these massive buildings and a lot of people there just buying stuff and the flashing colors, it was crazy. Anyway, it was an experience. And then we moved to an apartment.

      Cultural differences, school, high school, learning english/ESL, fitting in/belonging; feelings, unbelonging

    20. "It's called a salad dude do you even speak English?”


    21. And then we moved from that house because it was a lot of people, a lot of problems. We're actually living in a garage. Me, my mom, my uncle and other four people in our garage.Anne: Your brother?Luis: My big brother actually moved with my grandfather. So it was just my mom, my little brother and me and my uncle on that small garage. With other four people. And it was freezing cold and then super hot. It was really extreme.

      Time in the US, homelife, living situation

    22. Luis: I kind of stopped.Anne: Because of the scholarship?Luis: Yeah. It was kind of like a heart-breaking moment for me. Because my arts teacher had asked, “Do you do envision yourself going to an art school program or something?” And I was like, “You know what, I never thought of that and do I have what it takes!” And, she was definitely pushing me towards that route. But she didn't know my exact situation and I never told her because I don't know, I just don't like people pitying me, you know? So yeah, I kind of stopped and I started dancing after that—just as a hobby, nothing serious yet.

      Time in the US, immigration status, being secretive, in the shadows, lost opportunities, living undocumented; keeping secrets

    23. Anne: Did you start getting interested in art in high school, or before?Luis: Way before, since the beginning of my life, I was really artistic. So since the first time I was here I will play piano and then I will try to draw like comic books and stuff like that as well. I was always really proficient because I always practice it.

      Time in the US, pastimes, art, music

    24. Also, one of the things that I remember strongly about high school—my first experience in high school—is that in Mexico, usually rules are kind of rigid in the sense that if you're late, you need to knock on the door and ask for permission to enter the room. So, I did exactly that when I was over there in my first day of high school. I wasn't confident in my English so it was like really difficult for me and I did it. And everybody's like, what the hell is this guy doing? I was like, sorry for being, courteous, I was just trying to not be a douche. Okay. But then I understood that and then rallies, rallies were like really interesting because it's like what are we doing in the gym, school spirit or what do you mean? It was really weird and kids were, kids are bullies. Most of them even if they're bullied, they want to bully somebody else for some reason.Anne: Do they bully you?Luis: No, well sometimes but not really because I was big, I remember that on my first rally I was just sitting on top of the bleachers and this small kid just started grabbing my thigh, right? Doing weird stuff to it. And I told him, "You need to stop please. You need to stop.” He wouldn't stop. So I just hit him like this [makes a gesture with his arms] and with the elbow and I just ran away to the bathroom because I thought I was going to get expelled. So that was, that was interesting I guess.

      Time in the US, school, high school, bullying; cultural differences

    25. Luis: Exactly. So yeah, they tell me that, my English is proficient enough to go to regular school, but my brother and my uncle needs to go to that specific high school because they have classes for, they have ESL.Anne: ESL?Luis: [Affirmative noise]. They went to that school and I will go to this other high school called ____, but a bus would take them to ____, in another district. And I wish I would've known that it was easier over there because the immigrant community is bigger, right? So you have more people to relate to because the one I was going to, no one spoke Spanish and the people that knew how to speak Spanish did not want to speak Spanish. It was like a process of I'm not going to let them know that I know Spanish. I'm not actually American. And that was very few. I mean people were very nice. I'm not going to deny that, but at the same time I couldn't relate to anybody. I became a loner of some sort and I was just like isolated. Because I was at first, since I didn't talk, I was really introverted, but then like I blossomed. When I was in middle school and I was like really extroverted. But then with this change I became introverted again. So I would just mind my own business and I liked to play basketball a lot. So I will play basketball. I will do handstands. I liked to be very physical at the moment. So I would just train you know? It was funny because for some reason people thought that I was really mysterious like, “That dude must be a Ninja or something. He's really mysterious. He's just like doing flips and stuff.” I was really athletic at that moment. Not anymore.

      Time in the US, school, middle school, fitting in/belonging, discrimination/stigmatization, changing schools, making friends; feelings, isolation, unbelonging; pastimes, sports, playing

    26. Luis: So, we got here and my uncle took us to this high school, that was called ____. That wasn't the nearest high school to our house. But this high school had specific programs tailored to immigrants.Anne: Okay.Luis: So we took a test, an English proficiency test. And it was my brother, me and my uncle, because my uncle is my age. And so he's like a brother. So we took the exam and it was, a number out of five. Right? So my uncle gets one out of five, my brother gets two out of five and I get four out of five. So I mean, I guess I did good or like they congratulated me, but afterwards I realized that I should have done worse, but anyway.

      Time in the US, school, learning English/ESL

    27. Luis: Yeah. And I was super open about my story. I was like, yeah, we just crossed. I come from Mexico, but I wasn't really aware of the fact that I was "illegal". This is just how it happened.Anne: So how did it dawn on you?Luis: When I asked if I could be part of a scholarship program or something like that, I don't remember exactly what it was. It was something about art because I was—and I'm still—really into art. But I asked and I remember that some of the requirements were, I don't know. Also when I was working, because they asked me for a social security number and stuff like that and I didn't had any or any official IDs. We went to some dude to take a picture of me and make me an ID. But at the moment I was oblivious of the fact that it was an illegal ID, it was a fake ID. But then like after that moment when I wanted to apply to this specific scholarship, I was like wait a minute. I'm illegal in this country, I cannot apply to this thing! And yeah, from that point on it was like, I need to be careful, I don't want to get deported. But actually, California is like a really, or at least where I was, is like a really chill state. Not in terms of like people treating you well, but they don't ask. So I mean that's good enough I guess.

      Time in the US, immigration status, being secretive, broken system, lost opportunities, living undocumented, not knowing status, learning status; documents, driver's license, social security card/ID; California

    28. It was good at first, but then once you go to school and you talk to other kids, you start to realize that your life is not the same. That you cannot really relate to some of your peers. And you cannot do certain things. I didn't realize that I was going back into the United States as an illegal immigrant until I was actually a junior in high school.

      Time in the US, Immigration status, living undocumented, not knowing status, learning status; Time in the US, school, fitting in/belonging

    29. nd I remember we stopped—my first experience on the second time—was me stopping at the gas station and getting down and some dude randomly asking me if I was in a gang. That was my first experience. And I should've known, I should’ve known this is not going to go well. Okay. So he just asked me because I was wearing a red shirt, but I like red, you know, just the color. So he asked me, “Norteño or something like that?” And I was like “No, I think I'm from the South.” And he gets all pissed off and everything and I don't know what the hell is going on. Then luckily he realizes it. I had literally no clue of what the hell he was saying.

      Time in the US, Arriving in the US, first impressions; time in the US, discrimination/stigmatization, stereotypes

    30. So, we were living over there and the conditions were really poorish. There was some kind of domestic violence ingoing on with my parents. They were having a lot of issues. So, one of my uncles invited us… “You can always come and live with me.” And my mom just got fed up of this whole situation with my dad and so just one night took us all and [Snaps finger] we disappeared.Anne: Without your dad?Luis: Yeah. It was interesting. We went to Tijuana, we stayed with some dude, I'm guessing he was a coyote or something like that. And then, he gave us like the shittiest IDs to cross and we did. My mom was super nervous at the time, but since I was 12, 13, I don't remember. I didn't know the scope of the seriousness of what we were doing. So, me and my little brother, we were like, “Ah, it's like whatever.” So yeah, I think that sold it pretty well to the guy that was checking the IDs. So yeah, we crossed. And the funny thing is that we were on a shuttle to ____, that's the name of the town. And we were driving in this freeway and everybody’s just sitting there really serious, really quiet. And then we passed a couple immigration officers, and they actually stopped another shuttle. So, we passed them by, and I could just hear like [Sigh of relief] and everybody was cheering and stuff and like “Wow.” So it was a funny moment. It was surreal, like “What is going on?”, “Is everybody an inmigrant like me?” It was crazy [Laughing].

      Migration from Mexico, reasons, violence, domestic violence; border crossing, migrants; family relationships, those who were in the US

    31. Yeah, so I was there and then it got a little bit rougher as time passed. And violence was… just a poor quality of life overall. Violence, poor services. Because since it's outside of Mexico City in another state—it's close but it's still another state. It's called an unprivileged neighborhood or something like that—they have a formal name for it. So, we were living over there and the conditions were really poorish. There was some kind of domestic violence ingoing on with my parents. They were having a lot of issues. So, one of my uncles invited us… “You can always come and live with me.” And my mom just got fed up of this whole situation with my dad and so just one night took us all and [Snaps finger] we disappeared.

      Return to Mexico, challenges, crime and violence; family, parents, domestic violence

    32. Luis: Yeah. I never went to school because they were like deciding should we enroll them, should we not? Should we go back? Because the first time we left the States, it was because there was a lot of gangs as well [Chuckle], so it was like running away from violence, which is ironic because the second time I went back is because we were running away from violence, again. It seems that violence follows us.Anne: So were they worried about—Luis: They worried about my big brother going—Anne: Your big brother?Luis: —going into like a gang or something like that. Because you know how the media kind of tells you what you're supposed to be over there—you're Mexican, so you're supposed to be like a Cholo, or something like that. So yeah, that kind of mentality wasn't really down with my parents. So they were like, you might as well leave.

      Leaving the US, reason for return, fleeing violence; Time in the US, gangs, fear of; family, siblings

    33. it might have.


    34. Read musical?


    35. Well, a funny thing is that I never spoke until I was six, so they thought I was autistic or something. I never ever spoke. I would just watch TV. I mean, I would understand everything, but I didn't speak at all. So I don't know if it's like a repercussion of the whole experience, but I mean that's interesting I guess.Anne: Very interesting.Luis: Yeah. I would just watch TV and play piano because they had a little piano in the house.

      Time in the US, Arriving in the US, learning English; homelife; pastimes, music, playing; pastimes, watching TV

    36. Anne: Were your parents working?Luis: Yes. They were working there. Yeah. My dad was working in a pizzeria, and my mom was a waiter. My big brother was going to school at that moment, so it was just me and my little brother and my aunt in the apartment. Mom would take care of us too.

      Time in the US, family, parents, jobs

    37. Luis: Okay. Well so, the first time, when I was a kid and I didn't even know that I wasn't really American. So, I just grew up normally. My uncle's partner at the moment was really nice—she was American—and she was an incredible person. She was really caring. So, she would take care of us and we would just watch TV, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers. And to me language was just whatever. So we just learned naturally English and Spanish. I just thought it was the same language, because we were speaking both back and forth at my house. So yeah, it wasn't hard at all. That's how I learned English. And in terms of like really fitting in, I was so little that I don't really remember exactly. But I mean they were good times. I didn't work, I didn't go to school, I was just watching TV.

      Time in the US, Arriving in the US, first impressions, living situation, learning english, awareness of what was happening; pastimes, watching TV; homelife

    38. Anne: And you said you went with a woman who had papers for you.Luis: Yeah, we didn't even know that lady. My parents were like, can you please cross my baby boy, we're going to cross over here. You could do it legally and it's going to be easier. And yeah, it was actually easier and I was lucky then, because I was given back.Anne: Yes.Luis: And yeah, that's how we got there.Anne: And you had siblings with you too?Luis: Yes, I had a little brother. So I was definitely one, because my little brother is one year younger than me. So yeah, I was with my big brother who's four years older and my little brother who's one year younger than me.Anne: [Affirmative noise]Luis: So yeah, everybody crossed. Yeah, so she crossed me and my little brother who were actually given to this lady.

      Mexico before the US, migration from Mexico, border crossing

    39. Luis: Okay. Well, initially my grandfather was working on the fields somewhere in California. I don't remember exactly where. And we were living in a really poor neighborhood in Mexico, in the State of Mexico, which is outside of Mexico City. And we weren't doing so good. So I think it was when the amnesty of ‘85 came in—something like that—my grandfather was actually able to get papers to become a citizen. And he invited us to go there and live with him. So my parents took on the offer, but we didn't have money, or whatever to do it in a formal way. So we had to cross. I was one, or maybe even less when I crossed. And yeah, that's how I got into the first time. I was living in ____ at that moment.

      Mexico before the US, migration from Mexico, reasons, family reunification, economic, opportunity

    1. Se porto buena onda,


    2. tienen sus garnachas their tacos


    3. Sergio: How do you think the living in the US has shaped who you are?Roberto: Well, let's see, well, culture I think, yeah. The culture from over there and the culture from here. I think it makes me have a more open mind. Yeah, we can see that we're, yeah. It shaped me like to a person that has his mind open, he's always sees the good and the bad stuff.

      Reflections, values; Return to Mexico, cultural differences

    4. Te acostumbras ya de algo.


    5. Sergio: Were you sad that you weren't going to be able to go back?Roberto: Well yeah, my mom told me that we're not going back to the States. And well, like I have a younger brother who was born over there as well. And well, my mom was also having some legal problems with my little brother, and his father. You can say that that's another reason why we returned.

      Leaving the US, reason for return, family decision, legal troubles, custody

    6. Roberto: It was apartment, it was a small apartment. I lived in Cali and L.A. and it was hot. Those temperatures, when it's cold, it gets very cold, and when it's hot, it gets very hot.Sergio: Yeah I know, I'm from Pomona, so right there next to...not next to, but like 30 minutes away from North Hollywood. It gets very hot.


    7. Sergio: When you were there, did you always know you were undocumented, or was there a day that you realized-Roberto: No. I never knew that I was... never knew, since like when I came here to Mexico, my dad told me. I thought like we did have you know documents to be there, but then he told me, "No" like, "You were there illegal."

      Living undocumented

    8. Sergio: So when you got to the United States, what do you remember from the school?Roberto: The teachers. The teachers, and well the classrooms, the playground, and... How do you say? Mis compañeros?Sergio: School? Peers?Roberto: Yeah.Sergio: The peers?Roberto: Yeah that's what I remember there, yeah. And it was good. I liked the school over there.

      Time in the US, school, making friends; Arriving in the US, first impressions

    1. Anita: Do you think that living in the U S changed you?Diana: Yes, a lot.Anita: How so?Diana: I'm more open minded, and I see things different. I think I'm more accepting of a lot of differences in people or in stuff. Because here I see that people sometimes, they reject, people are different and something like that. Also, the thing that I liked a lot more about that is that they do take care more about animals and stuff like that. Over there my son, he got so amazed how ... over there we never saw a stray dog. I mean, I'm pretty sure sometimes they get loose, but you know they're not strays, and here you see so many stray dogs and cats and stuff like that. So that's one of the things that I like the most about there. They help a lot more.

      Reflections, Identity, values

    2. Anita: So what's been the hardest thing about being back?Diana: That you don't make enough money. Actually, probably that's why I like the more over there because even with low salary income, you still, if you know how to manage and everything, you still ... I know that over there the situation, it'll be you're poor, but you don't live that bad, you don't struggle that much. And here, it's hard to find a job that pays good, the hours are way longer, and then you have to travel sometimes a lot more. Let's say I do, it's not that bad, but I make like an hour and 15 minutes from here to my house so it's not that bad. But in other ones I would make more than two hours, and then it's far and then you go in the subway with a lot of people standing there.

      Return to Mexico, challenges, employment; Reflections, Mexico, worst parts about being back

    3. Anita: Yeah, anything else you liked or you miss from the U S?Diana: The food, some of the food. That is because some of the food here now we have it, is not, but is more expensive.Anita: What food do you miss?Diana: There's some buffets over there that I like.Anita: Like which ones?Diana: Like the old country buffet, I imagine, that one I liked it a lot. Now they had little Caesars here but before they didn't and I missed that before.

      Reflections, the United States, favorite parts, food; Time in the US, homelife, US traditions, food

    4. Anita: But what did you like about it?Diana: About coming back?Anita: About the U S.Diana: Oh, about the US. I like the rules. I like the rules. Because you know how over there you, let's say when you're driving, when I started driving, you know how over there you have to respect the people that are walking and then you follow rules a lot more. Here nobody cares. If you’re walking, the cars just, they don't care about you, and here you also see that the traffic's worse always because let's say if the lights are not working, it's not like over there that you know that the person on the right goes first. You stop, and you know it's like that. Everybody knows that, so you do it. And then here is like no, everybody wants to go first. It causes chaos and then a lot of people, mostly that is very insecure. The first time we got robbed, we were taking my son to school, and they stopped us and they had guns and they took everything. They even took his backpack and it’s like, why do you need his backpack?

      Reflections, the United States, favorite parts

    5. Anita: Did you like the United States?Diana: Yes, I like it a lot.Anita: What did you like?Diana: I liked how it was more easier. If you work hard, you get stuff faster, you have things. Also, because my son was over there.

      Reflections, the United States, favorite parts

    6. Anita: You just stayed so your son could finish his school?Diana: Yeah.Anita: Did you think of staying longer without your husband?Diana: Yeah, I thought so. I thought about it, but then I don't know, I was like, no, we have to be together.Anita: Love?Diana: Yeah.Anita: It does these things.Diana: Yeah, it does things, yeah. And then since I was mentioning, we always been together. Actually, we've been together now for 21 years. I met him when I was 15.Anita: Oh my God. And things are good?Diana: Yes. We have problems and other thing, but we've been always together in the good times, the bad times so ...

      Relationships, falling in love, having children, creating families

    7. Anita: And your mother, does she have your child?Diana: Not really, that was ... when we got there with my son, that was mainly the most hard things because my mom did say that she was going to help me but then at the end she really didn't. He was two years old. So, the first year before we can put him into preschool, we had a hard time with the babysitting, and then we had to adapt to find jobs where he can take care of him while I was working and stuff like that. When he got into preschool it got a little bit easier, but we still never really had someone that could take care of him and stuff like that. We didn't have enough money to pay for a babysitter.Anita: So some of the jobs you had had daycares?Diana: No, we would have to, let's say if my husband work in the mornings, I work at night. We had to find jobs like that.

      Family, children;

    8. Anita: And nobody ever asked you anything?Diana: No. I'm pretty sure they assume because you know there's a way to know because the social security numbers that they give you, if you know about it, they're not actual. They might be from people that are from the 50s or stuff like that. So there's a … but they don't really – I'm pretty sure a lot of them knew, but they don't really ask, they probably be like, okay don't know them.Anita: Don't ask, don't tell?Diana: Yeah, don't ask don't tell.

      Immigration status, being secretive, in the shadows

    9. Anita: Were most of the people you were working with in a similar situation undocumented?Diana: At the factories, yes. In the movie theaters, no because in the movie theaters, there was more teenagers and stuff like. Normal people. I think I was the only one undocumented there. Yeah, in the movie theaters.

      Time in the US, immigration status, being secretive, living undocumented

    10. Anita: And what was it like crossing the border the second time?Diana: The second time was more scary because I was 19 and my son was two years old. So then we went over there, and it was with my husband and then it was also – the first time I crossed by Tijuana, and then the second time we went through Sonora. So then it more hard. And then the first time, they took us on a van with more people. The good thing is that since I had my son, I was sitting on the front and then everybody was like hiding in the back and stuff like that. But then they caught us and then they deport us.Anita: You got caught?Diana: Once. So then while we stay at the border, that same people, you know the coyotes, they told us, “Okay, go back here,” and everything. And then the second time we cross, but it was not with a lot of people no more. It was just me, my husband, and a couple, and an old guy just took us on the car.Anita: And you were with your son?Diana: Yeah.Anita: But did you have to walk in the desert, or you went by car?Diana: By car. Yeah, it was by car.Anita: Okay, how did you decide where you were going to go live?Diana: My mom was over there in ____, so we went, and I stayed with my mom for a little bit.

      Border crossing, coyotes, general

    11. Diana: And then we were there and then there was these – they were from my school; I was already in high school. And then they started pushing up everybody all the way from the front and they pushed my mom. And then at that moment, I was telling the guy, “What's wrong with you?” and stuff like that. And then he was with his friends. He was an African American, so then I called them nigger and stuff like that. And then I start fighting with them, my mom got all scared, start pushing me, and then from there then the guy punched me in the face. And then my mom got really scared about that and she was like, “No, I'm not going to deal with this, I want to send you out.”Anita: So when you say fighting, fighting, like punching or fighting with knives or what?Diana: No, it was just fighting, like punching, getting into fights.Anita: So she sends you back to Mexico?Diana: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

      Leaving the US, reason for return, family decision; time in the US, gangs, fights

    12. Anita: Yeah. Did you have a boyfriend who was a gang member?Diana: Yes.Anita: But you didn't get pregnant?Diana: No.Anita: How'd you manage that?Diana: Because I didn't have any sexual relations with him.Anita: No?Diana: No.Anita: You weren't pressured to?Diana: Not really, not by him. So he was actually, he was in a gang, but he was a pretty nice person. Yeah, we would make out, but it didn't got to a point that he pressured me to have sex so ...

      Time in the US, relationships

    13. So you've been to the United States twice?Diana: Yes.Anita: And the first time you went as a middle schooler?Diana: Yes.Anita: Was that hard to all of a sudden leave your country?Diana: Yes, because of the situation. Because my parents split up, and then I didn't know what's going on. And then once I was over there I didn't know any English. So the first year was hard also because when I went there, I had to go back one year from school because I did not know English. And then third year, the things that they teach at the bilingual classes, it was not on the grade that I was, it was below that. So I think that, that got me, I lost interest in school because of that. So I started hanging out with bad people and stuff like that.

      Time in the US, arriving in the US, first impressions, learning english

    1. Anita: Like I don't even know. Are you different from other Mexican men in a relationship kind of is the question.Jesus: Yeah. That's the difficult thing, is not only am I binational and Hispanic, I'm from the north of Mexico. A lot of my culture from the north over there, it's really about machismo. And I was like, "Oh man." Over there, the reality is still women being abused, and all that stuff. So, when I tend to drink, sometimes I get angry and I started getting aggressive and like I told my ex, I was like, "I can't drink, I can't drink. Not with you." We tried drinking a few times, and things just kind of got out of control. She would become controlling, and then I'd start to get angry. I start to see my dad's side inside of me. And I'm just like, "No, this just can't happen." So, that's where we were running into issues too. And coming from the States, I was raised in the Pacific Northwest and there's a big movement for Civil Rights and stuff over there too, women's rights and equality. So, I have a lot of those same mentalities still, like respect women, try and keep things fair. But then over here, I feel like women have been brought down so much, that they want to see how much more they can get.

      Return to Mexico, challenges, cultural differences; relationships

    2. Anita: Partner? That was last week.Jesus: Yeah. [Laughs]Anita: How long has it been since you broke up?Jesus: Yeah, about a week. How did you know?Anita: You said you broke up!Jesus: You're following me around. [Laughs]Anita: You said you broke up.Jesus: No, we're trying to work things out. We did hang out last night, but it's just two different cultures. It's hard to kind of wrap your mind around being in a relationship, especially when my Spanish is más o menos.

      Relationships, falling in love; Return to Mexico, challenges, Language, cultural differences

    3. Anita: So, have you become aware of any programs that help returning migrants?Jesus: Yeah. I went with Israel to some meeting where it was like all the other big programs that actually help people out. And it was kind of amazing to see that there was like nine or ten different people representing their own associations and stuff.Anita: So, these were sort of non-governmental programs, or were they...?Jesus: As far as I know, yeah. Non-governmental.Anita: Okay. What kind of programs? Do you know what they were about? Do you remember their names?Jesus: I know a few of them. I don't know them by name. But I know some of them were centered towards helping women returning, some of them were just centered towards helping migrants from southern countries.Anita: Sort of economically, psychologically...?Jesus: Yeah, just everything. Pretty much what New Comienzos does, but ours is more centered towards United States returnees and deportees. Some of these were more centered towards the specifics, like just women, women abused, stuff like that. So, that was pretty cool.

      Return to Mexico, pastimes, volunteering; Mexico, policy for reintegration

    4. Israel


    5. Anita: So, have the past few months been difficult for you?Jesus: No. It's actually been a lot easier.Anita: So, things have gotten better then?Jesus: Yes, yes.Anita: What's gotten better?Jesus: I finally got my own place to live at. I have a job, so that's cool. And at my job, I get to speak English and Spanish and it's optional, both languages.Anita: Great. So, when we saw you, what were you doing? You were unemployed?Jesus: I was unemployed. I had just gotten to Mexico City, so it was a little difficult. [Chuckles].

      Return to Mexico, challenges, employment; return to Mexico, jobs

    6. Anne: Do you think you will return to the United States some day?Jesus: No, I want to see South America, Central America. I got really into the whole contras and all that stuff during the 80's with the CIA scandal. I just kind of want to see how it’s left all these countries south of Mexico. That's the whole reason I came down here.Anne: I see. You're the traveler?Jesus: Yeah.Anne: So, you want to travel south?Jesus: Yeah, everyone tells me it’s dangerous. They're like, “It gets more dangerous the further south you go.” I was like, “Well you only get one life you know.”

      Reflections, dreams

    7. Do you currently participate or volunteer in Mexico?Jesus: Right now, I am, yeah.Anne: With New Comienzos?Jesus: Yeah.

      Return to Mexico, pastimes, volunteering

    8. Anne: Are any of your relatives U.S. citizens?Jesus: My brother.Anne: He was born there?Jesus: Well, no, he was born here. Oh, and my sister too. My brother was born in Mexico.Anne: But he became a citizen?Jesus: Yes, just recently.Anne: So, it’s your brother and your sister?Jesus: Yeah.Anne: Have they come to visit you?Jesus: No.Anne: You haven't been here too long. Maybe they'll come to see you.Jesus: No, no. I don't know, I was...like I said, was kind of a criminal for a while and burnt all those bridges.Anne: So you're estranged?Jesus: Well I told them it's probably safer for all of us if I kind of just [Whoosh noise].Anne: I’m sorry.Jesus: I was like, “I’ll just kind of build my own life and then when I'm ready I'll contact you guys.” You make some mistakes in your life and you don't realize that at some point you can't really turn back, and you know. It’s just a little bit safer to not turn back to your family.Anne: Do you feel like it would be unsafe to go back for you?Jesus: Most definitely.

      family, siblings, arguments/estrangements; leaving the US, family separation

    9. Anne: Do you feel more vulnerable as a returning migrant than you would've—Jesus: No, I feel a lot less vulnerable here, a lot more accepted. [Chuckles]

      Feelings, freedom, belonging; Reflections, Mexico, best parts of being back

    1. Ni de aqui ni de alla. [neither from her nor there]


    2. tu vienes de alla


    3. Yordani: Yeah, definitely. Like the type of music I listen to, sometimes my ideas are very different.Lizzy: Like what kind of ideas?Yordani: I guess like my religion, I guess I was born into Christianity, and here it's like Catholicism, so it's like, my family is Catholic. It's like, "Oy."


    4. Lizzy: Is there anything that you feel like the Mexican government should be doing or that they could be doing differently to support return migrants like you?Yordani: Well yeah, I guess... A lot of people here have trouble with their papers, like school papers. They probably graduated or they have college and they come here and it's like they have nothing. Maybe something to accommodate that.Lizzy: Yes, I've heard that from a lot of people.Yordani: Yeah. That's definitely the number one thing.Lizzy: Did you have trouble with that, your papers from high school in the U.S.?Yordani: I mean, I came and yeah they had to ask me for like get my transcript. I mean the school did give me my transcripts. Other people here have trouble with that, they won't get their transcript unless they were there in person. I mean, I guess I was lucky that I got those. I guess I didn't really struggle too much with that, but I see how other people do.Lizzy: So making the education system easier to try to transfer-Yordani: To validate their studies, yeah.Lizzy: Yeah.Yordani: So they can integrate to the schooling system here.

      Reflections, Mexico, policy for reintegration; Return to Mexico, challenges, continuing education, records/transcripts/diploma

    5. Lizzy: But you're separated from your family. Was that your parents, and sister?Yordani: Yeah. I mean, I guess I chose to do that to myself. I just didn't know it was going to be that hard.Lizzy: So being away from your family is harder than you thought it would be?Yordani: Yeah, at first like, "I'm free." By a year I was like, "I'm good." And then it's like two years, it's like, "Okay, well, when am I going to see them?" I'm like, "This is..." Yeah, I guess you start feeling it. It took me awhile. I was like, "Dang, am I ever going to see them?"

      Reflections, Mexico, worst parts about being back; family, family separation

    6. Lizzy: Mm-hmm (affirmative). What's been the best part about being back in Mexico?Yordani: Well... I guess learning to speak Spanish better. Just feeling more free, like I can go wherever I want. Police aren't going to be looking at me, I don't have to worry about them. Whoa... Now with police are assholes sometimes, I guess everywhere they're that way. They're like that everywhere, right? But just that fear of like, "I don't know what's going to happen. They're just going to send me away", and stuff like, "I don't know what's going to happen." I guess that's gone.

      Reflections, mexico, best parts about being back

    7. Lizzy: And then you mention in the survey about, when we were talking about whether you feel safe in Mexico, and you said that at least you don't have the fear of the authorities that you have in the States.Yordani: Yeah. When I came I was so relieved. I'm like, "Awesome. I'm legal. I feel legal." That was nice, and then it's like, "Now what?"Lizzy: But in that way, do you feel less afraid?Yordani: Yeah, I felt relieved, I felt free. And that was nice.Lizzy: Had you ever felt free like that before in your life?Yordani: Ever since I found out [I was undocumented], no, because I felt like I'm always doing something wrong. I could just be here and [in US] I feel like, I don't know, like I'm doing something wrong. And I didn't even want to work, with pap-Yordani: In order to work, you got to forage for papers and I didn't want to do all that at first. I didn't want to do that, but it's like I guess I have to.

      Feelings, freedom; Reflections, mexico, best parts about being back; time in the US, immigration status, living undocumented

    8. Lizzy: When did you find out that you were undocumented? Or did you always know?Yordani: Nope, in high school. Around high school, like 9th, 10th grade. I guess that's what sent me down to depression because it was like 9th grade, you transition from middle school to 9th, it's a big change and then you find out this. And obviously, yeah.Lizzy: So finding out about being undocumented kind of made everything worse?Yordani: Yeah. Yeah, I guess. It just added onto it.

      Time in the US, immigration status, living undocumented, not knowing status, learning status; feelings, anxiety

    9. Yordani: So, I found this mushroom and I prepared it, cut it up, put it in the oven, dried it, made tea out of it and I had it. And the crazy thing is when I had it, I guess it was toxic. I read a lot about it, it is toxic, a lot of people were like, "But it's not toxic enough to harm you." And people report a feeling of less anxiety after they take it. And I did feel that, it did help.Lizzy: So it did help a bit?Yordani: Uh-huh (affirmative). Yes. I felt less anxiety. So I was dumb. I was like, "Okay. I guess if that took away this much anxiety, like if the more I do it the more it's going to have an effect.

      feelings, anxiety; time in the US, drugs, lack of mental health resources

    10. Yordani: Uh-huh (affirmative). Uh-huh (affirmative). You'd get less credits, you had to earn less credits to graduate. And there I guess, it's more about crowds, so it's like I had even less reason to really graduate and I ended up just dropping out like when I was 18. And from there I guess I got addicted to video games, like really addicted to video games. I guess... I don't know, to escape, I feel like I had my reason, I guess that was my reason to get good at that game, because that was my reason for living, I guess.Yordani: And the other... We moved away from town, where I would hang out with all my friends and yeah, so I just isolated myself with some games. I spent like five, like three, seven, four, five, six, seven years just doing that. I got really bad, I guess my social skills got really bad, just lost all my friends. Got new friends online that weren't really friends. I didn't even know who they were. And yeah, I was just in a really bad state of mind, you know? I hated going outside, it was so... I guess I didn't know where to get help. I guess I had a computer, so I'd be on the computer and I'd just research a bunch of stuff.

      Feelings, isolation, anxiety

    1. Anne: Do you think living in the US made you a different person than you would've been if you stayed here?Hugo: Not really a different person. Just noticed different types of lifestyles and pretty much it. How people are because you can be here the same as you are anywhere. I think if I was placed in any place, even in Mars, I would still be the same person. You know? I just went through certain decisions that obviously gets you consequences. But the States is just more comfortable

      Reflections, identity, values

    2. miha


    3. miha