From a letter sent to FFI by Joseth Fortino Salgado while he was detained at Yuba County Jail. Sadly, Joseth has since been deported.
In 2019 you would expect racism to be abolished, to have a better understanding of the color of your skin and where you come from in an educated way.
My name is Joseth Fortino Salgado and all I know is that I was born in Mexico City and was brought to the U.S. at a young age. My parents looked for a brighter future for me and my siblings but due to the lack of information and knowledge, we established a decent home [but] in a low-income community where there were gangs, violence and easy access to drugs.
As a young elementary school kid I did everything possible to do good in school, but something brought me down. I didn't have a clue what it was but I knew something was missing and wasn't right. I had to grow up fast since my parents would work all day and I was left in charge of my little sister while they were at work. I learning English by watching cartoons on the television and, being a smart individual, I picked up the language fast.
Moving to middle school I got a greater look on what was missing. Something wasn't right in the way that I was looked at, and I was treated different from other students. I came from a low-income family. My parents didn't have a lot of money so I was clothed and sent to school with what they could afford. I got judged was made fun of and that only built resentment inside me, something that made me steer from right to wrong. I associated with individuals who would feel the same as I and even though they weren't the greatest in the community's eyes, I felt accepted.
I graduated from middle school and moved on to high school. As a young teenager I made a lot of mistakes due to how I felt and the constant thought that ran through my mind [was] "something wasn't right." I finished high school and moved on to college where I picked up a charge that would change my life forever.
The charge I picked up was an aggravated felony for being at the wrong place at the wrong time, but I accept responsibility for my actions as the young mature that I am.
Folsom State Prison was where I served my time. After serving my time I got picked up by ICE. That's when I knew what was missing and what made me different from everyone else: I had no status in citizenship and the little I had got taken away when I got charged with my crime.
I grew weak and with no hope I got deported to Tijuana in 2019. I felt worse than a lost dog. I had nobody in TJ. All I know is California. All my family is here. I got nothing in Mexico. I've lived 21 years in CA. I'm 24 years old now. California is my only home and like a hopeless child, I don't want to be taken away from my only home.
Feeling homesick, I came back to the United States. When I got home things were different. Both my father and mother grew older [and] they didn't have the same strength as before tokeep on working. Bills kept piling up and rent kept coming every month.
Taking the initiative and responsibility to help my family financially, I started working and providing food and money for bills. I remodeled my parent's house with new furniture and got rid of the old furniture, feeling that I was doing everything correct in their eyes. Working and coming home kept me away from trouble while I was helping my 2 younger siblings with school and guiding them between right and wrong.
All that changed when I got taken into ICE custody once again from an anonymous tip. I'm grateful for the help my family provides but I know they're struggling and need my help. All I want is a second chance. We all make mistakes big or small but we all deserve a second chance.
Psychologically, my brother suffers from my absence and my 6 year old sister is always asking me when I'm coming home. It breaks my hear to tell her I'm working far away and that I'll be home soon, not knowing myself if I'll ever see her again.
I miss my family. They're all I have. California is my home. We all deserve a second chance to prove to ICE and everyone that we can be proper and responsible members of society without being judged based on our past.