Ten years ago Jose German (pronounced Her-MAHN) of Mountain View decided to start the process to become a United States Citizen, and after years of waiting, studying and taking tests, his dream came true on July 14 when he was sworn in as a United States Citizen.
In Dec. 1987, Jose began his journey to the United States from El Salvador with a neighbor and three cousins. They traveled to Mexico where they joined other people from Honduras who also had the same dream to come to America for work. They made it to Texas, but Jose was separated from the group because he wanted to go to Houston. He obtained an agriculture work visa and worked in a rice mill and for a landscaping company, quickly realizing he must learn the English language.
He heard that he could learn English as a second language at Houston Community College and quickly worked his way through the classes, beginning with his ABCs. His teacher told him the English language is the hardest language to learn, especially when the only language Jose knew was Spanish. He said he is thankful for his teacher and the opportunity to learn English, because he realizes “It is very important to know the English language.”
He explained that it’s hard to make a living in El Salvador, even if you work very hard. While many people farm, if there is no rain all the work is in vain, and little to no money is made. Most people make about $5 a day, he explained, and very good paying jobs in El Salvador – such as a police officers or supervisors – offer a weekly wage of $200-$300, but the cost of living is still similar to the United States. He said the government is not operated properly, gang crime is high, and the citizens who are working so hard to survive still suffer.
Every year Jose renewed his work permit/visa and in 2000 the required permits were changed to temporary protection status, which also had to be renewed every year and also included biometrics and applications fees.
While many people want to come to America and become citizens, it’s not an easy task. He said he knows it’s not right to come to the country illegally, but he knows the struggle and understands why people do. He explained that if a person goes to a U.S. Embassy to get a visa, it requires a lot of money and other things such as home ownership.
See the full story in the July 26, 2017 issue.