Illegals Self-Deporting and Finding Their American Dream – In Mexico


Young “Dreamer” returns to home country and starts a thriving business. Isn’t this the way it should work?   

Bernardino Hernandez arrived in the United States with his parents when he was two years old.  The family left their home in Oaxaca, Mexico, came into the country illegally and worked as farm laborers.   Eventually his parents started their own vegetable farm near Santa Maria, California. Hernandez grew up as an American, excelled in school, lettered in high school cross country, had a 4.0 GPA and believe he could accomplish anything.  

But then, the reality of his illegal status set in.  He didn’t qualify for most scholarships.  He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California-Davis, with his parents footing the bill, but they couldn’t pay for graduate school and he couldn’t legally work.  It was 2010, and Hernandez was 21 years old.  He decided to return to Mexico.   His father, disapproving, gave him $1,000 cash and warned him, “I won’t pay for a coyote to bring you back.”

In Mexico City, he used his bilingual skills to land a job as an instructor at an English language school, before going independent with a large network of clients.  Through savings and a scholarship opportunity, he enrolled into a master’s program at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada for two years, then returned to Mexico to live.

Illegal Dreamer_Bernardino Hernandez 2

Hernandez landed a job as a translation contractor at a large Fortune 100 company, working between American and Mexican workers within the company.   In November, he launched a new start-up company called QuickTrans, which pairs translators, transcribers and interpreters with companies seeking such services, and runs the entire operation from his home.

The former illegal immigrant now has a U.S. business and tourism visa and has traveled to the U.S. several times on business.  But home for him now is Mexico, where he’s found his own “American dream” and is encouraging others to do the same.   His parents have also now moved back to Mexico and opened a construction business in their hometown of Oaxaca, where his father serves as a health official.

Hernandez is one of half a million young people who’ve returned to Mexico either by choice or by deportation since 2005.   Over 500 of them belong to a Facebook group, called “Los Otros Dreamers.”  The page is a resource for students who recently deported or those who chose to exile to Mexico.   They are proof that it is still worthwhile to find opportunity at home and help make their own country great again.



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