Ignacio Flores, is a 37-year-old man from Veracruz, Mexico. He currently resides in Philadelphia, where he was been living for the past six years.He decided to move to the United States after trying to make a livelihood in the current economic crisis in Mexico. Other major factors to his decision were his expenses and the necessities he and his family were lacking.
“The truth is that my country’s economy is in a really difficult position. If you don’t have a good education and preparation, and on top of that you don’t have a good job with a decent salary, it’s pretty tough,” said Flores, “The work that I did was seasonal. When it was good, it went well, but when it didn’t, it just wasn’t enough.”
Flores left his wife and two children in Mexico to look for a better life. He has worked as a baker all his life, a job he learned in his childhood. He traveled back to his home country two years ago to visit his family. The situation in which the country is, and has been for the past few years, left him with no desire to go back. He said he believes that working and providing for his family for as long as he can is what’s most important to him.
The journey that he undertook in order to visit Mexico was not an easy one. Flores was able to take a flight back to his country, however he believes the way back was the toughest thing he has ever had to endure.
“It took me a whole month to get here. The first week was in Agua Prietas. Then two full weeks in the dessert, and one more week to finally arrive. I don’t have any desire to go back after that,” said Flores.
The Immigration Reform Bill that was recently introduced to Congress has given Flores a reason to believe he will be able to go back. This reform would see a significant increase in visas allotted to high-skilled workers and a new system of temporary visas for agricultural workers and low-skill laborers.
After six years of living in Philadelphia, and having crossed the border twice, Flores believes that the only way to go back to Mexico is with this immigration reform. Without it, he says, he would never try to endure it or have his family do so.
“It’s not an ideal situation,” says Flores, “But with this new reform I could research, try and possibly apply for a way to go back and visit my family. And it’s not only me. This could help a lot of people to get back with their families.”
Flores said he believes that the process of migrating to the U.S. has changed drastically in the past years. When he crossed the border for the first time, it was an easy task compared to his second time.
“Crossing the border is in no way something easy. It was hard and horrible. When you take off, your family loses all contact with you. They take away your phone and completely isolate you. We couldn’t go out or talk. These people don’t even ask if you’ve had anything to eat or drink,” said Flores.
Flores believes that the hardest thing about being undocumented in the U.S. is the way in which people look at immigrants. “A lot of people should know that even though we’re immigrants, we have other rights and necessities. We too need medical services and legal support,” said Flores.
Another aspect of daily life that factors in is the fear immigrants experience everyday. Flores says that a lot of immigrants stay indoors and don’t do much for the fear of deportation, like not going to the hospital when they need assistance.
Flores’ life in Philadelphia has been a quiet one. He has maintained the first job he got at a Colombian bakery. When he is not working, he spends his time with his brother-in-law and friends; all from his hometown of Veracruz.
Tamara Jimenez, a friend and co-worker of Flores, spoke about her relationship with him. “I’ve known him for about five to six years. He is a very hardworking man who has dedicated his life to work. Now that he joined the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, he has become very active and he wants to know more about immigration in this country.”
Flores is currently an undocumented man living in North Philadelphia. He plans to visit his hometown and family as much as possible if the new immigration reform allows him to. If the opportunity strikes, he is planning to bring them to the U.S.