What happens when you cross la frontera is that you shatter, you stop being you and turn into a new person that belongs nowhere, that has no home, no roots. Going back is impossible and moving forward is like jumping into a ravine and hoping that it’s not too deep, that the rocks don’t mangle you too much, and that el monstruo that waits for you en la oscuridad is not too hungry.
What happens when you cross la frontera is that you have to do whatever it takes to survive, and that’s what pushes you into a life of crime. You need money to survive and washing dishes or mowing lawns are easy gigs to get but they don’t pay enough. In this country, fairness is a concept and nothing more. Los pinches gringos will send dinero to Africa and will pay thousands of dollars to chop their cat’s huevos off and remove their nails, but they won’t pay you a fair amount for painting their fucking mansiones and, if you complain, te llaman a la migra. Pinches hijueputas. Why the fuck should you do stuff in this country that you would never have done back home? Why should you smell like the shit you have to clean when you used to roll around with chingos de lana in your pocket? Thinking about that either makes you look for something different or breaks you again.
What happens when you cross la frontera is that you want to clean up, find a good job somewhere, meet a beautiful, sweet girl. You want the American Dream. But fuck all that. The American Dream is as false as the meat in your one-dollar burger and the canned laughter you hear on television. And it’s even worse for you. You have no skills and no diploma and no friends and no nada. You’re a problem. Un ilegal más. A beaner. A television joke. A wetback. You’re nothing but an issue brainless white politicians discuss from the safety of their offices. That’s when any offer becomes salvation, any desperate move a solution, every bad idea something that gives you a bit of hope. That’s when you realize that you will always live in a silent war and that anyone who’s not from your patria can be your enemy at any moment. That’s why you easily fall into selling rich white kids drugs while you pretend to work security at a bar.