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Jose-Angel Lombera

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Jose-Angel Lombera left Mexico at a young age to escape his impoverished conditions and seek new opportunities. The border crossing was harrowing and traumatic, and once in the States, he had to overcome a learning disability to learn English and adjust to the culture. He eventually became the head of a construction business and started a family.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Please contact Immigration History Research Center staff for permissions not covered by this Creative Commons license.

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My father, Jose Angel Lombera Sanchez, born on September 6, 1983. He was named after one of his brother that had passed away 2 years after he was born. My dad lived in a small 'pueblo' named Arteaga, Michoacan and like most of his people in his pueblo, poverty was a big problem. His mother and father were and still are to this day hard workers, but unfortunately what they were making for a family of 9 was not enough, so he had to drop out to start providing for his family. First person that migrated from his family to the United States, was his oldest sister, Martha. She had gotten married, so she moved with her husband. After a few months, three more of his sisters migrated to the United States for a better life. Later, his mother also migrated with his little sister and my father went 2 months without seeing her. Lastly, my father, his brother, (which is my uncle) and his father (which is my grandpa) migrated. Quote: “I remember not knowing what to expect, but what I did know that this was not going to be an easy journey,” my father states.

My father was told not to pack a lot but to bring lot of water and food. They got on a bus to a place close to Tijuana, which is close to the border, and were told that they were going to have to walk three days in the desert. The trip ended up being two days longer. There was no real explanation for this, but my dad believes that the coyote, aka the smuggler, got lost. They ran out of food and water but, they ended up making it to the United States. My father states that on his journey, he saw and heard a lot of things that not any kid should have to go through. For example, he saw so many people getting left behind and would hear women get raped at night by these smugglers. It's heartbreaking, but people go through that type of thing everyday. Arriving to the United States was hard to adjust to at first because his first language was Spanish, so it was frustrating for him to understand, and especially with the learning disability my dad has, things were just a thousand times harder. But with time and commitment my father did big things. My father now owns his own construction business, and we're financially stable thanks to his hard work and dedication.

Life in the United States and Mexico are two very different things. Polices aren't as important as they are here and there are so many things that aren’t allowed over here that are allowed over there. For example, riding in the back of a truck. It took my father to adjust to the new rules, but eventually caught on to them. He went to Sequoia High School, but eventually he came to the conclusion that school wasn’t for him, so he started to work in construction and after a few years of putting in work, he became his own boss. I'm proud of what my father has become and the amount of work he has put into his future.