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The Monarch Times

The Monarch Times

The Monarch Times

    Immigration Stories

    Below are anonymous stories from undocumented immigrants of the Hayward community. They are sharing their experiences of crossing the U.S.-Mexican border. Today, media sources and many politicians often characterize immigrants as a danger to national security and negatively stereotype them. In an era of increasing xenophobia, The Monarch Times hopes that these stories will humanize those who have embarked on the dangerous journey across the border and inspire readers to think critically about immigration. 


    Story 1:

    I was 25 years old when I immigrated from Honduras in the winter of 1998. I came to America fleeing from my abusive ex-husband to get a better life for myself and my family. I left my entire family, including my children, a two-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter. 

    I was traveling with a caravan of about 100 people from other countries. We, the people from my home city, grouped together and protected each other. People I had never met called coyotes guided us through the month-long trip.

    We moved at night to avoid being caught. We traveled through mountains, fields, and rivers on canoes. At one point, we ran through a cemetery thinking we were being chased. The supposed chasers had really been another group of immigrants thinking they were being pursued. During the day, we would stay in safe houses to rest.

    One night, after we had reached Mexico, we were in a truck when we heard a military truck approaching. Frightened, we rushed out of the vehicle and dove into the nearby brush. We were hiding there for six nights, sleeping under the rain and surviving primarily on cheese, tortillas, and oranges. As it turns out, the military were bribed by coyotes and would not have stopped our journey.

    We traveled the rest of Mexico in a small truck. To arrive at the U.S.-Mexican border, I had to travel in a trailer truck with about 120 people for 48 hours. Despite there being ventilation, it was unbearably hot. We were dropped off in a field for 2 days before we were guided through the Arizona desert to cross the border at night. There, it was freezing to the point where our water froze. We had to huddle up to maintain warmth.

    We crossed the desert, hungry, bruised, and tired, but finally in America. We hid from I.C.E. in bushes before a van picked us up and drove us to a home in Phoenix, Arizona. There, everyone was taken to their respective families. I was one of the last to leave the home, and the owner of the house tried to sexually assault me at night. Afraid, I told one of the coyotes and, thankfully, the man stopped.

    Finally, I was taken to a safe home in Los Angeles. My only family member in California, my younger sister who had immigrated a year prior, picked me up from the house and took me to the Bay Area, a place to start anew. 

    Story 2:

    I came to the United States because of the [civil war] my country [Nicaragua] faced. I left on December 30, 1989, with my mom, my sister with her 3-year-old child, and my sister-in-law with her 2-year-old child. My sister, who was already a U.S. citizen, helped us cross the border. My sister had to figure out how we could leave the country since at that time, they didn’t give out visas to go to Mexico, much less to go to the U.S. We had to leave any way we could, so we were forced to leave illegally.

    My sister’s friend made a connection with some Nicaraguan ambassadors, who gave us Mexican visas. At this time, I was 8 months pregnant with my son. When we got to the airport to leave for Mexico, some officers stopped me and asked how many months pregnant I was. I lied and said I was 4 months pregnant because if you’re 8 months pregnant, you can’t board a plane. The guy didn’t believe me, so my mom asked him to please let me cross, stating she didn’t want to leave her pregnant daughter alone in my country. I was eventually let on the plane.

    The officer advised my mother to tie my belly when passing through security so it wouldn’t be so noticeably big. I did as I was told, boarded the plane, and arrived in Mexico. We got to Mexico City around 1 PM, where we passed security to leave and gather our things. I stayed at the airport for 8 hours because I had to catch a connecting flight to Tijuana. My safety was at risk because people knew why we were there. They could tell we weren’t from Mexico and came to an understanding that we planned to cross the border.

    Eventually, I got on the flight to Tijuana, where I met my sister, who picked us up. I was unsure how people knew we were not from here, but they knew. So, the minute we exited the plane, airport security escorted us to a separate room. They forced us to give them all of our money—around $2,000 to be allowed to pass.

    My sister took us to a Mexican family’s house, where we spent the night. The next day, the coyotes arrived with real green cards. They gave me a green card that belonged to a 40-year-old woman while I was only 21. Each one of us was assigned a personal coyote, who gave me instructions for when we were to cross. I had to learn everything on the card, as this was to be my identity. 

    We got on a bus and were handed props to make us seem like tourists, to avoid suspicion that we were crossing illegally. I was nervous and shaky all over because I knew what I was doing was wrong and potentially had serious consequences. My personal coyote told me that security would not check every person. All I had to do was not appear nervous and I would be okay. 

    Upon exiting, we crossed a street to a motel where my sisters and mother were, along with other people on the same journey. They took everyone’s “temporary” green cards. My sister and mother had to go to Los Angeles because the children were there, since they had crossed a different way. They only had room for 2 people on the bus, so I stayed because I was pregnant, with my sister-in-law in the motel room alone. They left and said they’d be back in a few hours. I had nothing to eat or drink all day. We didn’t know which hotel room we were in and didn’t want to open the door out of fear that someone could catch us. 

    After a while, no one came back. My sister-in-law became desperate and rummaged through any drawers to find me something to eat. All she found was a singular piece of chocolate. We slept and my mom and sister returned with the children at around 9 AM. They brought breakfast from McDonald’s, the best breakfast I’ve had in my life.

    We finally arrived at Los Angeles with no complications at 6 PM. I later moved to San Francisco with my sister. After 9 years, I married an American citizen and got my papers in 1997.

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