Cross-posted at My Ongoing Struggle with Misanthropy

Part I/Part II/Part III/Part IV/Part V/Part VI/Part VII/Part VIII/Part IX

By Angie Sánchez

The reason why I began working was so that I could have money of my own and help my dad with some of the bills. That summer I worked as much as possible and I saved a lot of my money. I knew that I wanted to go to college but I did not realize how expensive it was or how I was going to get the money to pay for it. When the school year started and I made an appointment to visit the college I was interested in. The staff there was very welcoming and most of all informative. The adviser I spoke to informed me that I qualified for a $2,000 scholarship and that upon acceptance that scholarship was going to be mine. Unfortunately, I could not receive that scholarship or any other form financial aid because of status. I was devastated, especially since I had been accepted to the school. When this happened I decided that I was going to work extra hard and save up money. At $6.50 an hour I was going to need way more than 32 hours to save up $12,000 per semester.

Being employed with illegitimate documents is extremely hard. You run the risk of being caught by your employer and getting fired. Depending on the type of employment you have you also run the risk of being deported if there is a raid. I always tried to be as careful as possible. If I brought school work with me I had to make sure that my name was not on any of my work. I had to pay special attention when I had to sign my name whenever we received packages or shipments. I felt like I was living a double life.

Although fake documents may allow you to work “legally” you will not get hired everywhere. Due to thorough backgrounds some employers deny you employment. I was offered a job at Wilson’s Leather. The manager would go to buy food often and she saw me interact with customers. She said she liked me and thought that I would make a great associate at her store, so I applied thinking it was time for me to move on and work somewhere that was not only going to pay me more, but I was also going to stop smelling like cookies. As sweet as that may sound I got sick of it after a while. Plus, I had to wear a dorky uniform and I absolutely hated it. But I knew that I had no choice. That is how life is for someone who is a mojada. So, someone like my self is stuck working in jobs where there is very little room for advancement. You also do not have the freedom to quit whenever you get sick of your job and apply somewhere else.

To be continued …


About the Author

Jimmy Gabacho

Gabacho– according to the Dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy– is derived from an old Provençal word “gavach,” meaning a person from the foothills of the Pyrenees who spoke incorrectly. These days, it means “outsider,” somebody who just doesn’t fit in.

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