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May-11-2010 20:17printcomments

A Day in the Life of an Illegal Alien

This essay is about an average day here for an illegal resident and worker.

The illegal alien
The illegal alien "Pancho" at a young age.

(RESTRICTED) - First I would like to say that I tried to come here legally. I filed the visa/passport application with the US State Dept and paid my 1250 peso ($100 US) application fee. I was turned down and did not get that fee back.

I try to do things correctly, but really wanted to come here...so I did. I am an illegal alien, working illegally and getting numerous benefits..health care, assistance with my electric bill and while I am not on food stamps, I get a lot of free food from various sources.

I love this country ! My home country is corrupt beyond belief.

I am not the only person wanting to get out. The ruling class live fat, happy lives of prosperity while the workers get the crumbs and the bill. Our politicians are interested in their own careers and will sacrifice our people and our country if needs be to ensure their reign.

The police and federales are habitually corrupt and often brutal. Most all killings by law enforcement go unpunished and usually uninvestigated, other than a token "internal" hearing that always ends up with the police exonerated.

The average person in my country feels helpless to correct things, even though we are supposed to be a "democracy". It was this and the desire for a better life that caused me to decide to take the chance to come here, and I am so glad that I did.

I have been harassed back in my home country for speaking my mind against the government, so if I ever am arrested, I am going to try to get political asylum here and stay. I have experienced a little discrimination here, but not nearly what I was told to expect. On the contrary, most everyone has been quite helpful.

I did not know that I could get free medical treatment at the clinic here, till someone told me. Back home, I only went to a doctor or dentist if I was in serious condition, as I could not afford preventative visits, or any treatment that was not absolutely necessary.

Most of my work has come from locals, many of which know that I am an "illegal". About one third of the food I eat is given to me free, also by many people who know that I am not supposed to be here. I only have to pay half my electric bill...the govt pays the other half for me!

My housing is cheap too..I only have to pay $80 US for a nice big three bedroom house with a large yard. Last month I took our dog in and got her spayed and all her shots for free..courtesy of the taxpayers!

Even our dog is enjoying the benevolence of this society!

But I digress...this essay is about an average day here for an illegal resident and worker. It is not an unpleasant experience at all, although the threat of deportation hanging over my head like the sword of Damocles is a bit unnerving. Even a minor run-in with the law could mean arrest and deportation. I was asked once to show my visa, but smiled and told the officer that I left it at home, and that was the end of it.

Today I got up at my leisure in my $80 per month house, had coffee and ate some bananas that my neighbor gave me yesterday. His family have been so nice to us. They know we are illegals, my wife and I, and that we are hand-to-mouth and are not getting food stamps, so they try to help us out. Another friend of ours has found a good bit of work for us, and is our "front man".

He lines up the jobs and we give him a cut for his time, and for giving us the appearance of legitimacy. We did not bother to learn the language before we came here, so he helps us with that too...does the wage negotiating and collecting. He is a citizen and has many contacts.

I get a good bit of work because I am willing to work cheaper than my competition here. Of course, I would like to make as much money as I can, but when you are an illegal, you have to do whatever you can to get by. Today I am doing some work for the city I live in.

Of course, they do not know that an illegal is doing the work, thanks to our "front man".All they know is that "his" bid was the lowest. At the end of the day, I will bring home maybe $20, but coupled with the many benefits I recieve here, I am living a better life than I did in my own country. I miss my country and my family, but do not want to go back and visit unless I know I can come back here.

If I ever am deported, I will find a way to sneak back. Getting here was much easier than I expected. I even smuggled in a little mota (marijuanna) for my own use here, but it is long gone. Not to worry, however, beacause I have been trading tattoos (unlicensed and therefore illegal) for weed. Again, people know I am not licensed, but my prices are so incredibly low, they do not care.

I really want to be legal and do things by the book, but being hand-to-mouth, do not have the resources to re-apply for my visa or work permit. I imagine I would be turned down again and be out another 1250 pesos.

I figure everyone has to do what they have to do. There wasn't much work back "home" anyways, I am actually busier now than I was there. I really do love this country and the people here. I would like to be a citizen eventually if possible, but plan to stay here even if that never happens. The people here do not realize how good they have it. I hear people complain about the govt corruption and the police and I laugh and tell them that they have NO idea what a corrupt govt is.

Back in my country people can be arrested and held without charges indefinitely. A minor "crime" like possession of pot can result in seizure of everything you own...cars, house, even children ! Every encounter with law enforcement can result in death or arrest, even if you are innocent.

By comparison, the police here are quite benign and seem to actually be working for the people. It is a little after 1PM, and the city job is done and now we are doing some work for a restaurant... a small job, but a job nonetheless.

Do I feel bad about taking jobs from citizens? Yes I do, but I am on survival mode. I plan on being a positive force in my new country. I do not want to go back to my old country where I grew up. I live in Mexico now and love it. My old country was the United States, and I hope I am never deported and forced to go back. Till then, I am an "illegal".




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Pncho May 15, 2010 8:46 am (Pacific time)

Well Cisco, I did study hard, graduated at age 16 on the honor roll. I ran a successful sign business for 22 years. Most all my customers were other busineses..retailers, wholesalers, car dealers, and lots of construction related businesses.During 2008 and 2009, I saw one third of my customers go out of business. Some of these were long time established businesses. The other third were hanging tight and not spending money on new signs, truck lettering or graphics. I used to paint a lot of race cars...all the guys I used to do that for have quit because their businesses have also slowed down..You claim America always finds solutins to its problems ...how about that fascist government? How about the endless wars and the income gap (the bottom 50% of Americans collectively own only 2% of the wealth) Its easy to be smug, but I know a lot of good hard-working people who have lost everything...not from sloth or ignorance a you imply, but unforseen circumstaces beyond their control. My move here was much more about principles than economics. My bills here come to $200 per month,but I still have to work every chance I get to cover that.


Cisco May 14, 2010 7:13 am (Pacific time)

Hey Pancho, you said: "Laying awake at night wondering how I was going to make my $1255 monthly mortgage payment felt like poverty to me. Not being able to afford to take a couple of days off work to go camping with my kids because the bills are stacking up felt like the ultimate poverty to me..." Maybe if you lived within your income and set a reflective budget, you would have slept better? For those of us who studied hard, got good jobs and have been responsible in our consumer purchases, then so goes the ability to purchase what we want, which I personally have. If that is the primary reason you moved to Mexico, your definition of "pverty", then how come more Americans have not also moved there? Fortunately the majority of us continue to look for ways to solve the relentless development of new problems, and that is what makes America great so far, for we do continue to find solutions. It's easy to evade problems by blaming others for your own poor decisions. Misspent youth?


Pancho May 13, 2010 6:29 am (Pacific time)

"Actually, I think that the average person in America has it MUC better than the average person in Mexico. I think this writer must have a major problem if he thinks that living in poverty in Mexico is better than living in poverty in America, hence the flow of Mexican citizens into America." I guess it boils down to how one defines "poverty". Having a bunch of things that you owe more money on than you have is poverty to me. Laying awake at night wondering how I was going to make my $1255 monthly mortgage payment felt like poverty to me. Not being able to afford to take a couple of days off work to go camping with my kids because the bills are stacking up felt like the ultimate poverty to me...When the curtain falls, we are not going to be able to take our jet skis, quads, big-screen TVs or houses with us. And at our funerals, people will talk about what we did, not what great toys we had. There is poverty of the wallet and poverty of the soul...which I believe to be much worse.


gp May 12, 2010 11:45 am (Pacific time)

I didn't read the last paragraph well either, my mistake, maybe why I flunked algebra so many times, attention to detail is a good thing. Reading everything is a good good practice, I suppose I too thought I knew what the writer was saying and just didn't go all the way with him. Good joke on me, foolish old bat.


May 11, 2010 10:53 pm (Pacific time)

Actually, I think that the average person in America has it MUC better than the average person in Mexico. I think this writer must have a major problem if he thinks that living in poverty in Mexico is better than living in poverty in America, hence the flow of Mexican citizens into America.


Joe May 12, 2010 3:03 pm (Pacific time)

Nice job Pancho but if you were in Mexico illegaly you would be in a prison

Editor: Oh, Pancho is in Mexico illegally, Mr. smarty pants.


Pancho May 12, 2010 2:06 pm (Pacific time)

Eddie, you are correct somewhat..and my intention was to initially mislead... but in order to get a Mexican visa, I need to first have a passport. My passport application was denied by the US State Dept. who issues passports for Americans...The problem has been cleared up, but I will have to work a week to earn another $125 to re-apply.


Stephen Mills May 12, 2010 2:01 pm (Pacific time)

Frankly this seem to be all rather nonsensical. The reality is that we are being stripped of precious resources that we need to take care of our own people, not others who come here illegally, with many causing incredible violence. The below U.S. Justice Department/F.B.I. link lists the names and photographs of America's most wanted killers. For even the untrained observer, it's quite apparent whose disproportionately the most violent offenders. I would ask the writer of this article to provide criminal data that is vice versa from the below. He will not be able to. http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/fugitives/vc/murders/vc_murders.htm


Cass May 12, 2010 1:34 pm (Pacific time)

Fantastic article :) I absolutely loved it. The angry comments just show how people view foreigners with such a nasty perception, and it's a really sad characteristic of some people in our country. I loved the twist at the end - rock on, Pancho!


gp May 12, 2010 11:45 am (Pacific time)

I didn't read the last paragraph well either, my mistake, maybe why I flunked algebra so many times, attention to detail is a good thing. Reading everything is a good good practice, I suppose I too thought I knew what the writer was saying and just didn't go all the way with him. Good joke on me, foolish old bat.


Pancho May 12, 2010 10:58 am (Pacific time)

Brian,nowhere in the article did I imply that I was uneducated. Your assumption that Mexican=uneducated is your own, and quite wrong. And ,as the editor pointed out, I am an American.


eddie zawaski May 12, 2010 8:00 am (Pacific time)

Editor, Don't be so tough on Brian. While this piece is intended to be satire, it's a bit flawed. The first paragraph sets everything up backward. Someone applying for a residence visa in any country would apply to the embassy or consulate of that country, not to the US embassy. Thus, the "set up" paragraph is unfairly constructed to mislead Brian and any other reader to think the writer is residing in the US. There were some good satirical points to be made in this piece, but the writer lost the opportunity to make them effectively with a poor introduction.


Anonymous May 12, 2010 7:13 am (Pacific time)

How pathetic. You are illegal, go home. You got a problem with your Country, fix it or try again to come here legally. Your story does not make it right to be an illegal. You and all the other ones are one of this Countries problems. You all suck us dry with benefits, free school, health care and so on. Go home where you belong.

Editor: So some believe that Pancho set it up too heavy, and here is this comment from a person who still doesn't realize the person is from the USA and now in Mexico.


Brian May 11, 2010 9:55 pm (Pacific time)

Bull S**t! The writer is no more of uneducated Mexican origin than I am; and I was born in Portland Oregon! Lets have a little honest editorializing, If you please.

Editor: Dude, read the last paragraph, it is a joke to make people realize that things aren't the way they seem.  This is an American in Mexico, it is tongue in cheek but otherwise honest, cool? 

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