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Miguel Delgado

“You are all beforehand aware that there is always poverty in Mexico, y one must find

the a way to have a better life with the help of family. My parents had always been poor


Mexican American Miguel Angel Delgado, arrived to the US in 1960. Born in Iguala,

Guerrero in 1939. His childhood in Mexico was beyond rough. He finished elementary

school but was unable to continue due to financial circumstances. Continuing school

required money to pay for uniform, books, and fees. Money that his family did not have. He

attended elementary but never participated in any activities because his family also didn’t

have the money to buy the appropriate attire. During his last year of elementary there was

an academic competition, in which the winner received a Mexican flag. Miguel participated

but didn’t win the competition because he did not know the answer to the last question,

“what language do they speak in Brazil?”. However, Miguel was without a doubt one of the

brightest students in is academic class.

In search of a better life, at the age of 8 Miguel began to indenture himself. He

would carry food to men working in agricultural fields for $3 a week. His next job was at a

seafood restaurant. The owner did not need an employee, but was kind enough to allow

Miguel to paint walls and chairs for a small pay. Miguel never gave up. At the age of 18, he

left to Acapulco in search of a better job. The city of Acapulco was building an airport, and

had many job openings. Miguel immediately got a job at the airport. During his time in

Acapulco working at the airport, Miguel met his wife and formed a family. His next job was

with the fire department. Unfortenaulty, as a firefighter his wage was still low and the city
did not pay firefighters in a timely manner. As a matter of fact, the department was behind

in payments by a month.

Meanwhile, Miguel had aunties that were already in the US, they had left Mexico in

search of a better life. His relatives convinced him to migrate to Chicago. It was an

industrial city and there was a high employment rate. In 1960, Miguel entered the US with a

passport and visa. Within a month he found a job that paid $2.35 an hour. But just like in

Mexico, Miguel always strived for the best. He would constantly move around as soon as he

found a higher paying job. Two years later he was able to bring to the US his wife and two

daughters with passports and visas.

Eventually, Miguel became a homeowner in Chicago. The houses was three stories

at a price of $65,00. Later he discovered that the low price was due to house’s location.

Miguel had bought a houses in an unsafe neighborhood, a hotspot for drug deals. One

night, Miguel was hosting a party at his house, the parking was full and some of his guest

parked in the wrong area. Miguel mentions, “in front of the houses there lived a Puerto Rican

police officer that did not like Mexicans ”. When the police officer saw that Miguel’s guest

were parked in the wrong area, he immediately called the local police. The police arrived

and began to violently attack Miguel. One of then placed his knee onto his lower back and

had him on the ground for legitimate reason.

After what had occured that night, there was a police false police report. The police

officers said that Miguel had violently attacked a police officer and that he had to be

hospitalized. “Here we are the ones who make the laws (said the police officers)”, are the

words that Miguel will never forget. After 20 years the court case remains unsolved. Miguel

has very present the racism he experienced for being Mexican that night. He says, “In those
days there was racism and there still Mexicans are drug addicts, drug dealer... But we are not

all like that. There are many of us arrive in search of a job”

Although Miguel is legally a resident, he cannot be outside of the country for more

than 6 months. Otherwise, he will lose his retirement pension, and residency. However,

Miguel says, “I cherish the US... worked here for more than 40 years this is like my second

home”. Although he lived lived in the US most of his life, Miguel alos keeps Mexico close to

his heart. He loves his native country and says, “My roots are their, and I would never

change that”.

Miguel and his wife are both residents and retirees. He build a house for himself in

Acapulco, Mexico but does not live there all year. He returns to the US to visit his sons, for

court, and for medical reasons. In the 60’s there was no public transportation. Miguel did

not had a mode of transportation, and was left with no other choice than to walk to work

everyday, including in the winter. Unfortunately, he developed arthritis on his knees and

has to get surgery done. Every 6 months he must get injections to relieve knee pain

Miguel has 18 grandsons, 6 great grandsons, and they are his motivation. He admits

that he is not completely happy, due to all the injustices he has experienced but being able

to see his family makes him very happy. He has a son in the military. Every time his son

comes home on leave, it brings tears to his eyes. Miguel is a member of his catholic

community, enjoys reading the newspaper, watching the news, and reading. Miguel enjoys

staying informed with what is happening around the world, immigration laws, and new

decisions the current president is making.

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