Former Mexican immigrants tell their story

Every year, Humberto Rodriguez Maya travels to the Mayan city of Neza to visit his family and old friends. During this year’s trip, something was different. Rodriguez Maya found that several immigrants who used to live in New York had returned to Neza, a city of one million and the tenth most populated district of Mexico. In a series of five interviews, he discovers why some of them have returned and what pieces of advice they have for readers of La Voz who still live in the U.S.

Sergio Rojas Rodríguez had worked in the U.S. for eight years. Little by little, his employer cut his hours until one day his boss told him they couldn’t pay him anymore. His efforts to find a new job were in vain.

“I returned from New York, specifically Kingston, because of the state of the economy which, at the beginning of the year, was very difficult. I was without work from December and I couldn’t find anything. I looked for work for almost two months, couldn’t find anything, and so I decided to return because I had to pay rent, I had to send something home, I had spent a lot of money but still no economic income. So I decided to return to my country– however it may be, I wouldn’t lack food or a place to live.”

Fermín David Flores is 25 years old. She lived in the U.S. for almost five years and worked as a public transportation operator. She was deported as an undocumented immigrant.

I was detained for six months, and after that, I was deported. When they deported me, they made me sign a voluntary deportation document, and upon signing it, they automatically prohibit you from returning to the U.S. for ten years.

Her advice for young people?

Take advantage of opportunities, and don’t get involved with problems. If you go over there because you want to do something better, take advantage of your opportunities.

Mario Sandoval is 58 years old and lived in the U.S. for 25 years, 12 years in Wappingers Falls, NY and another 12 or 13 in Long Island. He had several jobs including running a bagel store. He returned simply because, “I was tired of being there.”

Sandoval’s advice for fellow countrymen in the U.S. is simple:

Gather your dough there and come back here to spend it.

Raquel Rodríguez lived in the U.S. for nearly 20 years where she worked as a maid. When her daughter got married and spent some time in Mexico, Rodriguez followed. But one day, she hopes to return.

It’s a country of progress, and my daughter is American– she was born in New York. I have a lot of motivation, and so yes, I would like to return in the future.

Her experience has taught her the importance of hard work and learning English.

Above all, work, because it is a country where hard work helps people move forward. And for all the Hispanics that work hard, set aside some time to learn English. Despite being a mother, nanny and working, I always set aside a little time to go to school. I am very glad that I am Mexican, and bringing the language with me. I speak English and I am very proud of speaking my language in addition to English. I recommend that you never forget to try to learn English.

Adrián Álvarez Cruz is from Mexico City and worked on Long Island for 10 and a half years setting up tents for parties. He left after altercations with the police. He says they took his truck, and when he went to the precinct to get it, they accused him of theft. Still, he says he would return to the U.S. to work if he had the opportunity.

I liked the work, the treatment you are given at times. What I didn’t like is that getting a visa or license is very hard. Just do your best, behave well and get your papers together, because this is rather difficult.

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