Jose’s initial motives for leaving El Salvador were based on his desire to better his family’s life as well as his own life. Additionally, he wished to escape the violent occurrences in his home country. He felt that he could live a more peaceful life in the United States with much more liberty. Yet his journey to achieve these goals was difficult.
The voyage to the United States was carried out with the few resources he possessed. At the time he decided to embark on his voyage, the main source of aid was his sister, Delmis, who was the only family member he had residing in the United States.
“Ella respondía por mi. Ella me ayudo a llegar ha este país.” (She responded for me. She helped me get to this country). His sister paid a coyote-smuggler that was in charge in getting him across and to the U.S-Mexican Border. A portion of the monetary component of the trip that was owed to him was paid before departure and the other was paid upon arrival in the U.S.
While he does not remember the exact date of his departure, he does remember leaving from San Salvador. He was then on a journey that took place some days by walking long periods of time and other days on buses or cars. On those paths he remembers the suffering and the uncertainty he experienced. His friends used to tell him that the coyotes (smugglers) would steal from them or they would suffer abuses crossing the borders of neighboring countries, especially the Mexican border. That border was their first test at successfully making it across a difficult border crossing. Each day could be his last. “Esos viajes son tan pesados.” (Those trips are so intense).
Once he was in Mexico, he arrived at the place where they would be crossing the river, the Rio Grande. They had to wait a night before they were able to cross because of the intensity of the current. In the meantime, they were hidden “con las esperanzas que no fuéramos encontrados” (with the hopes we would not be found). He was successful in his attempts to cross without detainment. The first city he arrived in upon entering the United States was Houston, Texas. “Ahí en ese lugar es donde logre pasar y me encontré por fin en los Estados Unidos.” (This was the first place that marked my successful crossing to a new country and where I found myself, finally, in the U.S). From Houston, he called his sister notifying her on his safe arrival. She proceeded to purchase an airline ticket for him with a destination to New York, so he could join her. He decided to depart because she was his only support in this new country and he wanted to be by her side. He left Houston to arrive in John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. “Mi hermana vivía en Westbury y ahí me hospede. Desde ese entonces, he seguido viviendo en Westbury.” (My sister lived in Westbury and that is where I settled to live. Since then I have lived there and have not moved from there.)