For many undocumented immigrants in the United States, life is both a challenge and a sacrifice. Worrying where to stay and how to get through American laws and prohibitions is a daily superhuman effort.
"Norteamericanos no entienden mis problemas. Las noticias, las revistas seleccione su opinión. Que triste."
This is a real person, and her real situation...
What else can she do?
And for the undocumented, unemployment and sluggish spending has thrown an invisible garrote around an important portion of our economy.
"I left Nicaragua after los contras bombed the church where my father was Reverend," said 33-year-old Evelin Mercedes. "My brothers were both drafted into the Sandanista army. So, when los contras started arresting Sandanistas, we went to Cuba as political refugees for three years, then my family snuck into the US. I was 11."
"Now my parents are dead," she continued. "I can't go back to Nicaragua, because family members of Sandanistas who went to Cuba had their citizenship revoked. I can't go to Cuba from the United States, because I am in the US illegally. I am stuck here."
Jobs for the undocumented are very limited, yet most can be very rewarding. For those who have violated terms on legal residency and eventual citizenship, or who have come to America through illegal entry, finding a job may require a complicated turn of events.
Even when there are a lot of job openings available in the market, not all are available to the undocumented. In the current economy, even the grey-market jobs are all taken. This obstacle provides narrow chances for improving their daily living.
"Paid survey service is one of the most in demand occupations for illegal immigrants nowadays," said a spokesperson for SIIS Surveys, based in Miami. "Because getting a job is no longer a problem for any illegal immigrant once you are employed here."
"I call and email people from my own home," said Mercedes. "without worrying about the fact that I am here illegally."
"I get paid through Paypal, so I don't have to risk trying to cash a check," she said. "I still feel like a criminal, even though I am not."*
"I hate to live this way, but I have no choice. If I am deported to Nicaragua, I will be arrested immediately, and maybe killed," Mercedes concluded. "My 11-year-old daughter was born here, and I could never leave her."
"I'd rather die."