Jesus Aguilar, a former police sergeant in Cuidad Juarez, fled to America to escape violent drug cartels nearly a decade ago. He is now a laborer in Arizona, where he seeks any work he can to support his family.

It isn’t always easy living under the radar, as 11 million others like him know. Aguilar can’t apply for citizenship because he is here illegally. He can’t get a job on the books.

His status has remained in limbo because the U.S. government has not adequately addressed the immigration issue, despite much talk of it in recent years. Millions are still waiting for action.

When and if he can legally seek citizenship, Aguilar is prepared to show he’d be a valued worker. He already is.

A Hard Day’s Work

On a recent day, Aguilar arrived before light to wait in line to be hired for construction work, according to a recent Reuters article. But no contractor showed up to hire him. So he got into his 20-year-old pick-up truck and began collecting cardboard boxes discarded by businesses. A few hours of collecting gets him about $50 in cardboard to sell. Aguilar has to pay $550 a month in rent.

Another undocumented worker interviewed for the article, Marcos Lopez, shares a two-bedroom apartment with five other immigrants so he can afford to send money to loved ones in Mexico. He has no grand illusions about life as an American citizen one day. He told Reuters he just wants to work and pay taxes like millions of other American citizens do without breaking the law.

Aguilar, meanwhile, fears an upcoming court date. He was arrested after being unable to produce a driver’s license during a traffic stop. He doesn’t want to be deported to Mexico. He wants to stay and work in America, where his family is.

“I am here in this country to contribute,” he told Reuters.

Reform is Needed

The debate over how to deal with the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. has been a contentious political topic for years. It is important that the ultimate status of people like Jesus Aguilar be settled sooner rather than later.

It appears, however, that immigration reform may be on the horizon. We will examine this in more detail in a future blog post.

We Help Immigrants

At the Manuel Solis Law Firm, we help guide people through the immigration process, whether they are seeking legal citizenship or are facing deportation after an arrest. Our attorneys understand that most undocumented people in this country are hard workers seeking an honest living. They don’t want to be in violation of the law—they simply want the law to recognize their hard work and let them live like the rest of America.

Contact us for a free and confidential consultation if we can help you with an immigration-related matter.