Salvador Candia Mosso was so excited when an official from the US Consulate in Ciudad Juarez told him that his residence in the United States had been approved, that he ran out of the interview and forgot his backpack.
“I was in the street, crying with happiness when I remembered, I came back and a guard handed it to me.”
And two days after his residency was approved, Salvador still can’t believe it. Any time is a good time to let go of tears; and it is not for less, for more than 20 years he lived in the shadows; and the last few weeks were agonizing because he was not sure if his residence would be approved or denied in Ciudad Juárez, a destination that many fear because it represents the danger of not returning to the United States, next to his loved ones. .
“I was born in the city of Tlapa de Comonfort in the state of Guerrero, in Mexico. The first time I entered as an immigrant was in August 1997. The migra caught me; and the next day, I tried again to enter through Douglas, Arizona; And i did it. I entered alone, but I hit other people I saw on the way.
Upon crossing the border, Salvador went straight to New York where he had siblings, cousins, aunts and nephews.
“I was only there for 4 months and I left voluntarily because I got chicken pox. My brother was scared. He thought I was going to give it to him, and he bought me a plane ticket back to Mexico.”
Between June and July 1998, he tried to return to the United States, but it was summer in the Arizona desert, and after feeling that he was almost dying, blistered and with bleeding heels, on the verge of dehydration, he gave up and gave up.
“I was scared, more so when another person fell unconscious. I went back to my village.”
In 2001, Salvador asked his three brothers in New York for help to try again to reach the United States.
“In March 2001, thank God I managed to cross without any problem.”
Salvador says that it was poverty that forced him to emigrate.
“I am part of the indigenous people of Guerrero. I only have high school. In my town, we worked In the field, planting the milpa, we had cows, calves, goats. But I did not want to die taking care of donkeys and working the milpa because it is very poorly paid. A pawn earns a pittance. He wanted to have a future and I didn’t find it in my town. That’s why I emigrated to this country”.
He says that in New York he worked in construction, in a painting company, was a dishwasher and delivered meals.
“I had to deliver food to the Twin Towers, an hour before the September 11 attacks. I was one of those who interviewed after the tragedy, ”she recalls.
In January 2010 in New York, he met his now wife Mara Salinas Preciado, a Mexican-American born in Downey, California.
A year later, in early February 2012, he came to live in the San Diego area with his wife, who was already pregnant with Yanalí Anahi Candia Salinas, who is now 10 years old.
They currently live in the traditional Barrio Logan of San Diego.
The residency petition
It was about 5 years ago that he was encouraged to apply for residency based on a request made by his wife.
“At first I felt very happy in the hope of finally coming out of the shadows, but when I found out that I had to come to Ciudad Juárez, I was scared, I started to worry and feel anxiety, nervousness and stress.”
They gave him an appointment for the residency interview at the US Consulate in Ciudad Juárez for February 2.
“I was notified three weeks before and when the time approached, I began to not sleep well and my appetite began to die down.”
What is going to happen? she wondered over and over. She was assailed by the fear that they would not approve her residency. She had heard so many cases of immigrants who stay in Ciudad Juárez and do not return to the United States.
“Will I come back or not?” he repeated to himself relentlessly.
When he set foot on Mexican soil, after more than two decades of absence, he wept with nostalgia, even more so when he saw the Mexican flag. But at the same time, seeing the border wall, fear invaded him.
“I saw some boys wanting to cross, and I said to myself, ‘you are going to be one of them,’ if they don’t approve your residency.”
Salvador was tortured by the possibility that his residence would be rejected, because that meant that his family would be divided and that his landscaping business, which had taken him 10 years to create, would disappear.
He was also concerned about the organization he created 8 years ago to help Hispanic immigrants, California Hispanic Heritage.
“We support with pantries, sending bodies to Mexico, we donate clothes, wheelchairs, electric hospital beds, canes, walkers for people with disabilities, diapers for babies and the elderly, toys, personal hygiene products, we bring food to day laborers from the field and we do the international Hispanic Heritage month parade and festival in San Diego.”
The fear of not returning
Salvador’s greatest fear was that they would give him a 10-year sentence, and he would not be able to return to his wife and daughter.
“My attorney (Kevin M. Tracy) gave me a lot of confidence. He told me that I already had a pardon and that the 10-year punishment did not apply in my case because, according to a 1997 law, I did not last in the country undocumented for more than six months and I self-deported”.
The lawyer told him that everything would depend on how he answered the immigration officer’s questions; and he advised her to tell the truth during the interview. “Study and stop worrying”, was his recommendation.
His attorney had given him a list of questions about his immigration history to study.
With his nerves on edge, he arrived in Ciudad Juárez on Saturday, January 29.
“I arrived with a bit of trauma because in 1998 I was kidnapped in Mexico City. It calmed me a lot to know that the person I arrived with was very trustworthy.”
But as the date of the interview approached, anxiety took over Salvador. The night before, he barely got two hours of sleep.
“I knelt down; and I told God that only he knew my need and why he had brought me to this country. ‘I don’t want to be separated from my family. I don’t want my business to disappear. I don’t want my foundation to support many families to go to waste,” he pleaded.
She also asked God to take away her nervousness and anxiety, and give her serenity and peace.
“I cried for like 30 minutes nonstop, praying to God to give me the right words to answer during the interview.”
Salvador says that he was shaking as if he were going to have a cardiac arrest. He knew that his future was at stake in the interview.
As surprising as it may seem, he arrived at the appointment on February 2, at 7 in the morning, light on nerves.
“There were like 500 people in the room. I was the fourth person who went to the interview. I was attended by a very friendly gringo who made me swear to tell the truth. He asked me where I met my wife, how many years we have been married, what is my daughter’s name, where was she born, her date of birth, with whom did I enter the country, what did my wife do, if she declared taxes”.
When the questions ran out, he observed that the immigration officer put a stamp on his papers and handed him his documents and then said the words he always dreamed of hearing.
“You have been approved. Welcome to the United States of America. With tears in my eyes, I ran out and forgot my backpack.”.
He admits that he was overcome by emotion. “I started to cry, to thank God. When I got home, I let off steam. ‘Thank you Father for your miracles’. My wife, my whole family and my priest brother in Guerrero who were in prayer for my residence, wept with emotion.”
Salvador, who turns 43 this month, says the residency will change his life forever.
“What I didn’t do in the shadows!… You can imagine what I’m going to do now. I want to buy a house, and focus on helping others. God has left me in this country to be an instrument of help”.
How to avoid being denied residency in Ciudad Juárez?
Immigration attorney Kevin M. Tracy, with offices in San Diego, advises contacting a qualified attorney to ensure they review all the facts and background of your immigration history, to clarify any issues you may have when you leave the United States. United.
“In the interview in Ciudad Juárez to try to obtain permanent residence, they are going to ask you questions about your history as an immigrant, where you live, what you work at, they are going to ask you about your family members, your previous contacts with immigration, your plans, etc.
It specifies that the immigrant needs to know very well what is in the package that was sent to immigration, that is, about their migration history.
Why do some people fail in the interview in Ciudad Juarez?
“Because they are not prepared for war, that is, for the interview. The officer is just doing his job. We train the immigrant on the questions they will be asked and the answers based on the history they provided to immigration.”
In the case of Salvador, he has never declared taxes in this country, wasn’t that a problem?
Attorney Tracy said that the IRS is different from the Department of Homeland Security.
“An undocumented immigrant does not legally have the right to work in the country, therefore, they do not have to file taxes, if they do not want to do so, and they can apply for residency through a husband, wife, or an employer.”