Oak park resident and Mexico native Juan Pedro Aviles can easily recall the struggle he and his wife went through to reach United States.
“It was really difficult to get here, it was really really hot and we had to walk so much,” said Aviles. “When my wife went over the wall, the lady behind her fell on her and sprained my wife’s ankle. It made everything harder.”
Aviles struggles didn’t stop as soon as he crossed the border.
“When we first moved here, we lived in Los Angeles and we would have to sleep on the floor of our relatives house because there was nowhere else for us to stay,” said Aviles.
Aviles says that he has always struggled to get a decent paying job because he is undocumented.
“I can landscape, demolish and construct, but I’ve never found a good paying job. Bosses always try and take advantage of me because I’m Mexican and pay me less. At times I’ve had to stand at Home Depot to get money for my family.”
Aviles has three kids, all born in United States.
“I’ve lived here for 16 years now, I have three daughters that are trying their hardest to succeed,” Aviles says.
Aviles knows that he has been through a lot of difficult times just to live the American Dream.
“I think the thing that hurt me the most was when my daughter started her first day of Kindergarten. She didn’t know any English because we couldn’t teach her (since) we didn’t know it. Kids made fun of her and it really hurt me.”
There are times when he doesn’t even feel safe in his own neighborhood.
“When I first moved here I didn’t have a car, so I would ride my bike to work. One day a couple of men stole my bike I had just bought,” Aviles recalls.
But none of can stop him from chasing his dream of seeing his daughters grow up and become successful people. Until then, nothing he has to go through matters.
The name in this story has been changed to protect the identity of the subject.