El Salvador

Chef and Kitchen Manager

I am from El Salvador and am a kitchen manager. I came here when I was fourteen years old; it was too dangerous to live in El Salvador.

Luckily, I got enrolled in high school, I graduated from high school. Then I just started working double shifts. Right now, this is nothing because it’s just one place. Before, I used to start working really early at 6:00 in the morning one job and then leave at 3:30 and start another job at 4:00, leave at 11:00 and get home by 11:30. I did that for like three years straight. I remember I was just taking Monday’s afternoon off and then that was it. That was my only time off, right from high school before I started college 3 years later. I really wanted to go to college so I was saving money, but I couldn’t make it. It was too expensive.

I wanted to study culinary arts. I always liked to cook. This is the best job I have had. I work five days a week. It’s a 12-hour shift. Sometimes as the manager I have to stick around a little bit longer.

As immigrant, I wake up every single morning thanking God that I’m awake,  that I’m alive and just pray that when I go outside, hopefully, nothing happens. I pray that I do not get arrested on my way to work or my way back home. That’s a risk that everybody needs to take so I’m dealing with that. I’ve been dealing with that a few years already.

All immigrants want to see change. We want the Congress to see how important we are to this country. They see something bad in immigrants because we’re all not the same. We all make mistakes, but we all get judged as equal and it’s not fair. Because some people do bad things, it’s not like we all do the same thing. My mom, my family, we all pray that things will change. Hopefully, one day we’ll get a green card. I just want the American dream. I already have a great job.

I pay all my taxes. Since I started working when I was 16 I’ve been paying my taxes. I haven’t done anything bad in this country. I think I really deserve an opportunity. I’ve been contributing to this country already for a really good time.

My younger sister works here. She’s a waitress. My older sister, she works as a florist. She has a full time job too. My mom, she works  in a taco food truck. So we all work here together. It’s not like we love to be here, but we have no choice. We can’t go back to our country because it’s too dangerous.