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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007

    I Crossed the Border Illegally

    Everyone´s got an opinion about immigration. Here, a young woman from Mexico recounts the harrowing details of her journey.

    About seven years ago, my town in Mexico began to empty out. One by one, the men left for New York City to look for jobs. Later, the young women left. And everything began to change. Where there had been poverty, now there were modern, new houses. Because of the money the migrants were sending back home, Tulcingo del Valle, our sleepy town nestled in green hills, got its first bank.

    Every Christmas, some of the migrants would come back for the holiday fiestas and brag how magical life was in New York City, how easy it was to earn lots of money and how beautiful the city was in the snow. They made New York City sound like the Promised Land, so my parents weren´t surprised when last Christmas, after I turned 22, I asked to go, too.

    I was working as a receptionist for a paquetería—a shipping company that transported money and packages between immigrants in New York City and their families in Tulcingo—and my family and I managed to open a tiny business selling gifts and cutting hair. We never starved. But no matter how much I worked in Tulcingo, I couldn´t earn enough to expand my tienda or to send my younger sister to school. I was eager to give my family a better life and was curious to see the world.

    At first my parents didn´t want me to leave because we´d heard so many stories about women being raped or killed at the border. But then a cousin and a friend offered to accompany me, so finally my parents said yes. We borrowed $2,500 from my tío, who was already in New York City, to pay a coyote to guide me into the United States.

    If I had known then what lay ahead, I´m not sure I would have come. But at the time, I was excited as we left Tulcingo at dawn on the morning of January 9 with only the clothes we were wearing and $250. As the sky brightened over the mountains, we drove, then flew toward the border—nearly 1,600 miles. We finally arrived in a city called Nogales, just south of the Arizona border. There, the coyote sent us to a small, spartan hotel where we joined about 30 other migrants—some as old as 50—all waiting to cross over, too. Many had tried to cross before but had been caught and sent back. They told us harrowing stories of climbing 20-foot fences and running for miles through the desert. My cousin and friend got scared, and within a few hours both of them had decided to turn back.

    Me? I wasn´t going to give up. I found another group from Tulcingo in the hotel and joined them. Two days later, the coyotes returned with word that we´d attempt to cross that afternoon.

    A taxi picked us up from the hotel and drove us to a bridge that spanned the border. Then, the driver told us to run down into a ravine under the bridge and wait for guides to pick us up on foot. He gave us a password—"clave dorada"—which is how we would know that the guides were in fact guides and not la migra. We crouched there, terrified, for about three hours before some young men came, said the password and told us to follow them across.

    A lookout was perched above us on a hill, patrolling the landscape with binoculars and talking to our guides with a walkie-talkie. Soon, the lookout announced the border patrol was changing shifts and that it was safe for us to climb through an arched metal barrier in the ravine—the dividing point between Mexico and the United States. My heart was still racing, but in a way I couldn´t believe how easy it had been to get through. In just five minutes, we were officially on American soil. That´s it? Where was the fence the other migrants had told us about?

    I remained terrified that la migra was going to see us and throw us into jail, but we made it safely to the coyote´s car. Then—disaster. The engine wouldn´t start; the battery was dead. Looking for any place to stash us, the coyote told us to run to an abandoned car he saw nearby. He said he´d be back for us.

    Inside the abandoned car, we all had to lie on the floor—five adults and a 5 year-old boy. For five hours, I was lying on the bottom, with two people on top of me and a broken piece of metal digging into my ribs. I thought I´d suffocate. The little boy kept crying out for water, and we were worried the Immigration patrols would hear him. After a few hours, I felt like I couldn´t stand it anymore, but the other people begged me not to go out because if I was caught, everyone would be caught. Like a woman giving birth, I kept telling myself that eventually the pain would be over and then I´d have a new life in a new place.

    Finally, the coyote brought another car and drove us deep into the Arizona desert. We arrived at a little house surrounded by sand. Inside, the rooms were packed to the walls with other people waiting for coyotes to move them north. There was no furniture, just a television, stereo and refrigerator. For four days we waited there, with nothing to eat but a few eggs each day, no way to shower and no way out. We slept on the bare floor.

    On the third day, a young white guy showed up. He smoked mota—marijuana—all day and night, and he told us this was his house. For each one of us to stay there, the coyotes paid him $100 a day, but it must not have been enough for him because he told us to empty out our wallets and give him all our money, or else he would turn us in to Immigration.

    What could we do but give in? You look out into the desert and you don´t know where you are. You think about all the people who have died out there and all you think is, I don´t want to be bones in the sand. I have to make it to New York City. I was scared but I said to myself, God is not going to abandon me. I will see my family again.

    By the fourth afternoon a coyote finally came for us in a Suburban truck, where I got to sit in the front with the driver while the rest of my group laid down in the back on top of one another in two layers. The coyote drove us to another house in Phoenix, where they let us call our parents on their cell phones. My mother and father cried with relief that I was safe. Later on we stopped at a mall, and they gave us each a little money to buy new clothes so we wouldn´t look like mojados. From there we spent about six hours on the road before we arrived at the Las Vegas airport. I worried security would stop us, but it turned out we only needed to show them our Mexico-issued credencial de elector to get through. And so, nine days after having left Tulcingo, I finally boarded a flight to New York City.

    I had arranged for my brother, who had crossed into America four years ago, to meet me at the house of a girl I had befriended on the trip. When we saw each other, we hugged and cried. When we reached my tía´s house, where I still live, we cried some more. I couldn´t believe it was over. I was finally safe!

    And yet, the life I found in New York City wasn´t quite the dreamland I had heard about. Here, a lot of the mexicanos I know live packed together in small apartments often too close to bridges and highways, where the soot rains into the windows. My brother and I must sleep in the living room of our apartment, and we have no privacy. We work so hard—six or even seven days a week—long hours that leave you feeling sore and beaten down. Many of us are paid less than minimum wage, but we feel powerless to complain because we are here illegally.

    And I am lonely. I miss being a regular girl, going to bailes with my friends, instead of my life now: work, clean, eat, sleep, and then the same thing over again. I miss my parents and my sisters. Sometimes I´m even afraid to go out—what if la migra finds me?

    But, a pesar de todo, I feel lucky. I found a job within two days, as a receptionist at a company. Now, every week, I send my parents $200; my sister can go to school to become a teacher; and my family is able to save money. They´ve even shared some of the money with the poorest people in our town.

    That´s why I don´t understand when I watch the news and hear that some people in the United States believe I´m a criminal—because instead, I feel like a hero.

    —As told to Franziska Castillo ... rillegally

    She feels like a hero? I wonder if she'll still feel this way once she gets caught. And to think, no parade for such a hero..

  2. #2
    Senior Member Beckyal's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    how many americans would like a job as an receptionist? Is this consider a job that Americans will not do? Was this job advertised to americans or did the hispanic mob fine her a job? she is illegal deport her. sorry she had a hard trip but it was her choice.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    The occupied territory of LA
    What she hasn't had a citizen yet?

    This story sounds made up to me.

  4. #4
    socalcracker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Interesting story. The whole time I'm reading it, I was amazed
    at the commas put in their proper places, and the graceful
    phraseology, and writing skills. I was wondering where this
    person picked up these English skills, in Mexico. It wasn't until the end
    that the mystery was solved, with the "As Told By" ending.

  5. #5
    Senior Member sippy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Salt Lake City, UT
    And I am lonely. I miss being a regular girl, going to bailes with my friends, instead of my life now: work, clean, eat, sleep, and then the same thing over again. I miss my parents and my sisters. Sometimes I´m even afraid to go out—what if la migra finds me?
    If la migra finds you then its ADIOS TIME for you! Good riddance.
    "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results is the definition of insanity. " Albert Einstein.

  6. #6
    Senior Member redbadger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    The United States Of Invasion
    Horse poo...this was written by someone else and not this illegal criminal who has a job that many Americans will do!
    Never look at another flag. Remember, that behind Government, there is your country, and that you belong to her as you do belong to your own mother. Stand by her as you would stand by your own mother

  7. #7
    MW is offline
    Senior Member MW's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    North Carolina
    How does an criminal alien board an airplane? She could have been a terrorist.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at

  8. #8
    Senior Member AlturaCt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Roanoke, VA
    Good point MW.

    That´s why I don´t understand when I watch the news and hear that some people in the United States believe I´m a criminal
    He gave us a password—"clave dorada"—which is how we would know that the guides were in fact guides and not la migra.

    la migra? Why would you be worried about la migra?
    [b]Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.
    - Arnold J. Toynbee

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    On the border
    I don't know if this is a true story or not but there is a lot of truth in it.
    The pass word they had means , golden key, and it's not so they would know if it was la migra or not it was meant to keep them from going with a different coyote and losing money.
    They are using spotters and radios a lot though, most every group I have seen caught has a radio so you know they are talking to somebody on a hill directing them. They use a lot of different freqs on low power which don't transmitt far so it's hard for BP to monitor most of it.
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  10. #10
    Senior Member SOSADFORUS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    redbadger"]Horse poo...this was written by someone else and not this illegal criminal who has a job that many Americans will do
    [b]I agree but I think it is purely propaganda, bull crap, fake, false, not real, made up, fictional, fantasy, (horse poo) as badger puts it!!by a second rate writer who should find a different topic!!
    forget it I'm not falling for it any more because one way or the other it doesn't matter, illegal is illegal, whatever your story is.

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