My story begins on the east coast of the Dominican Republic. My uncle, Diomedes, is ready to embark the yola, a fragile boat, towards Puerto Rico. Along with other people, they stand waiting for the coyotes, people who help transpass the border illegally, to arrive. During the illegal embarkation, he pushed a button that recorded his experience into a cassette, like one of the woman on the yola that panic and how others felt sick. They landed on the coast of Puerto Rico in May 1982. A woman ran and alerted the Puerto Rican coast guard, which forced the others to rapidly run over the hills to be able to escape. Some were able to escape, while others were arrested. Then they separated. He then started working as a construction worker. “Se pasa mucho cuando uno llega indocumentado a un país que no es de uno,” he said describing that people go through a lot when you are undocumented on a foreign country. Although the government never offered him legal help, in 1984, he became a resident after marrying a citizen of Puerto Rico. He then arrived at New York City in 1985, where he work in a factory and then on a restaurant. “No no no, yo nunca pedí ayuda para eso, yo lo que necesitaba era aprender inglés,” he said, implying he never ask the government for legal help to obtain citizenship. Diomedes, became a citizen in 1992 after failing the test on his first try, months before. After that he was able to bring his mother and the rest of the family, including me to the U.S.
– Jiancarlos P.