Cross-posted at My Ongoing Struggle with Misanthropy

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

By Angie Sánchez


© Andy Singer. Used with permission.

I began working the summer before my senior year of school. I worked at the mall at a specialty food store. Since I did not have legal documents to work I had to get some. And that meant getting a fake social security number and a fake Green Card. We went to La Villita which is a predominantly Mexican community in Chicago. All you do is walk down the streets and there are guys walking around asking if you need a Mica (green card). They usually make hand gestures, like holding up their hand as if they were holding a card in their hands. A guy walked by us and we told him we did. He asked what name we wanted on there and if we had a social security number we wanted to use otherwise they make one up for you. I made mine up on the way there. The name on the social security card was different than my real name. The only thing I changed was my last name. I did this because if someone that knew me ever came to my place of employment they wouldn’t address me with a different name than the one on my application. I also did this because if I ever applied for residency and if it showed that I had worked with a fake social they would use that against you. He told me to go to a shop where I was going to have my picture taken for the mica. It was a bridal shop, places where people go to take their pictures range or you can come with your own picture. An hour later we met up with the guy again and he had my social security card and my green card. I could now work “legally.” I paid a total of $150; the prices have gone up since then.

When I was hired they knew about my situation because he was friends with my friend, who got me in touch with him. A corporation such as the one I was applying to did not run a thorough background, therefore it was not hard to get hired.

I was so happy that I finally had a job and could help with dad. My pay was not great but I was grateful I had a job. I remember my Dad giving me advice the day I started working. He told me that jobs do not come easy, especially for people in our situation. He advised me to do my job right, work hard, and to not take it for granted, and most importantly to keep it. I have cherished those words since then.

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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