Humans of Agriculture- John’s Story
“My parents brought me to Wisconsin, I didn’t want to be here. My family wanted to see how the United States was. We weren’t rich, we were getting by. Just pretty normal, nothing fancy. They wanted to see how Wisconsin and the United States was. They said it was time to go, so we went.
A couple years after we came here my family went back, my mom, my dad and my sisters, I stayed here in Wisconsin by myself. They liked the town but they didn’t like they had to learn how to speak English, they couldn’t learn it. We were at the airport to go back when I decided I didn’t want to go. I thought if I went back to Mexico I’d probably be drinking all the time, probably stealing and I’d end up in jail. I was 15 and ½.
I went to school and started working in a factory. I was 15.5, at that time you could use a fake social security number, and I had a big beard. I started working at the factory, I was there for 3 years before I got fired. Not fired exactly, but they checked my paperwork and said I had to go find somewhere else to work. During that time I was going to high school, I was working, I was only sleeping 2 hours a day. I lived 45 minutes from school. I’d get up and drive to school, then right after school, my shift started at the factory. It ended at 1:30 in the morning and then I still had to drive back home. I spent a couple years doing that, until I gave up. I quit, I didn’t graduate, I made it to Junior year. I had to keep working, no one was buying me stuff, what I needed or insurance. So I just stayed at the factory. After that I got into trouble. Not exactly into trouble, but I was with the wrong person at the wrong time. I got myself deported 13 years ago. My English wasn’t good. I didn’t really speak English at all. When I got in trouble, the policeman got me in a room, they used whatever I was saying in my favor, against me. That’s why I got deported, because I didn’t ask for a lawyer. I didn’t have anything in Mexico, my family was there but I didn’t want to go back. Everything was here. A week later I was in Juarez, I came back right away. Since then I haven’t been in any trouble. I have my wife and three kids. My family is all citizens, I’m the only “wetback”, the black sheep.
I’ve sent my in my paperwork to become a citizen, immigration has my application. So far I’ve paid my lawyer $22,000, they haven’t fixed anything, it’s been a year.
A lot of people say “Be proud to be a Mexican” and I am proud to be a Mexican but for different things, for the culture, not because of stupid things. I love this country, this country gave me my family, my kids. And I have suffered a lot in this country. I used to sleep in the streets, in the car in the middle of winter, when I was 15 and 16 years old and a lot of people don’t see that part. They just think that when you’re here illegally you’re just taking advantage of everything and that’s not true at all. I see a lot of YouTube videos and news that people…racists think that because they pay taxes, all immigrants are taking the money. I don’t see that. I’m probably wrong but, in my case and in all these guy’s cases, we pay taxes too. I have to report to the IRS, if I have to pay, I pay. This year they took a lot of money out of my paychecks. I mean no disrespect but a lot of white people don’t pay that much in taxes. That’s a bad part about being an immigrant, I wish they could see my paycheck and see that we pay. Like social security, we pay that and we don’t get that back. But I don’t regret nothing. I’m not bitching about nothing. I am happy with my life the way it is. I know I have to put my part in, I know it’s what I have to do and I’m not going to just take and take, I am happy to do it. But it’s unfair when people say “you’re a Mexican, you’re just taking benefits from us” and that’s not true.“
John is the man behind your food, think of him when you buy dairy products.
To read more Humans of Agriculture stories, click HERE.