AMERICA

I decided that my children stay in their school because it is not easy to change from one place to another so drastically.

Firstly, because they have their friends, and also, because I do not want them to miss out on their studies by bringing them from one school to another school.
 
 It’s another 30-minute commute for America after she drops Xochitl at school in the morning.”I like Staten Island,” America says. “It’s peaceful, but the public transport is slow. I wait 30-minutes for each bus to come.”  

It’s another 30-minute commute for America after she drops Xochitl at school in the morning.”I like Staten Island,” America says. “It’s peaceful, but the public transport is slow. I wait 30-minutes for each bus to come.”
 

I ask her if she can drive. 

“No,” she responds, “my ex-husband refused to teach me. 
 America works as a housekeeper. She can’t get more consistent work because of her immigration status. 

America works as a housekeeper. She can’t get more consistent work because of her immigration status. 

 America waiting with her son, Juan, for his doctor’s appointment.

America waiting with her son, Juan, for his doctor’s appointment.

 
 America. New York. 2017. 

America. New York. 2017. 

I remember the first time my mom walked into the church. It was after my dad left us. She couldn’t stop crying.

I really think the church helped her get out of her depression.

-Etsio
Juan: Do you have any money?
America: No.

Juan rubs his belly.

America: I know. I’m hungry too.
 America. New York. 2017

America. New York. 2017

 Juan, Etsio, America and Xochitl grab breakfast on their way to Staten Island. 

Juan, Etsio, America and Xochitl grab breakfast on their way to Staten Island. 

 America’s brother calls her to tell her that a cousin that she grew up with has passed away in Mexico. 

America’s brother calls her to tell her that a cousin that she grew up with has passed away in Mexico. 

By the time I get back to mexico, my whole family will be dead.
 America Mendez. Staten Island Ferry, New York. 2017.

America Mendez. Staten Island Ferry, New York. 2017.