Hidalgo - At age 18, Hector Salinas's girlfriend became pregnant unexpectedly. The pair promptly married, she bore their son, and the new father found himself unable to buy diapers and milk for his baby boy on the US$200 per month he earned working for the local water authority of the state of Hidalgo. So Hector headed north to the United States, alone.
Three years later, he was running drugs along the California coast, pocketing six thousand untaxed dollars per month, and sending his family at least US$800 per week. Hector says he fell deep into an underworld and ended up an unwitting witness to a murder.
That’s when he decided to escape the snares of his drug boss. He stole home to Hidalgo and met his baby boy for the first time in three years, vowing to keep him from a similar fate.
Over a long Friday afternoon, the affable Hector, now a spiky-haired office-worker in Mexico City, recounts his migration story systematically, in minute detail, as if chronicling its moments for his son’s generation. His speaks terse, matter-of-fact Spanish, his emotions always controlled. He refuses to pass judgment on any of the actors in his tale, including himself. He simply warns fellow Mexicans against rushing north, and urges them to temper their dreams of America.
In the next two posts, I'll look at Hector's views of the United States during his migration north, once he arrived in San Francisco, as he fell into a brutal gang, and finally today as he advises his growing boy.Read More