Living in Legal Limbo, Always on the Move
Since he came from the Dominican Republic to the U.S. seven years ago, Homero Antonio (Tony) González’s life has been ruled by uncertainty. His current legal status allows him to reside in the U.S., but he can only work if an employer sponsors him for a work visa, which takes time, money, and a fair bit of paperwork. Many employers are reluctant to take on the process.
Because it’s so hard for him to find full-time employment, González is on a constant lookout for temporary work. At 30, he’s had more jobs than many people have in a lifetime, including construction worker, martial arts teacher, electronics repairman, Internet marketer and window washer, to name a few. He’s also been an actor in a few student films in New York, and he dreams of one day becoming a filmmaker.
González was detained after overstaying his tourist visa and sent to the immigration detention center in Elizabeth, N.J., where he said detainees are not treated like a human being and he endured bad food and cold temperatures. “I got out,” he said. “Thank God.”
González doesn’t have a permanent place to stay, so he crashes on different friends’ couches in New Jersey and Manhattan. Sometimes he sleeps on the subway. When this video was shot, he was traveling from Penn Station to Elizabeth, N.J., to stay at a friend’s house for the night. He says the red notebook he carries is filled with Scriptures he’s copied out by hand.