Isabel Canning


June 4, 2019

Mexico City, Mexico

Facing the reality of deportation

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Isabel: All right. It's Isabel, and I'm here with Weco doing the interview portion. Just to start, could you tell me, I know you were three years old, but a bit about what motivated your family to migrate to the United States?

Weco: I'm not sure. I just know economic-wise.

Isabel: Did you grow up knowing that you were undocumented?

Weco: Yeah, I grew up knowing I was illegal.

Isabel: Do you remember when your parents told you or how you found out?

Weco: They told me when I was like 12, just because I was in trouble with the law.

Isabel: Okay. Before that time, can you tell me a bit about your childhood, going to school, what kind of friends you had?

Weco: When I was seven, my stepdad got locked up. I remember that. He got locked up for trafficking drugs. He did some time. Me and my mama had to go somewhere.

Isabel: Where was this? Where were you living?

Weco: In the States, Indiana.

Isabel: Indiana.

Weco: He got deported for 10 years also. After that I grew up, went to school. Time passed by, then I…

Isabel: What was school like?

Weco: It's all right. Boring. [crosstalk 00:01:11].

Isabel: Boring?

Weco: I didn't like school at all really.

Isabel: Did you have friends at school?

Weco: Yeah, I've always had a lot of friends.

Isabel: How did you, like what did do you do for fun? What [inaudible 00:01:20] did you do?

Weco: When I was young, I used to like playing football a lot.

Isabel: Soccer or American football?

Weco: Both.

Isabel: Both?

Weco: But really American football more.

Isabel: Nice. Just for fun or on a team?

Weco: Fun really. It was just street football.

Isabel: Yeah, yeah. Nice. Could you tell me a bit about… I guess you said that you had a run-in with the law when you were 12. What happened there?

Weco: Actually, I was 13.

Isabel: Oh, 13.

Weco: I was being bad. Really, I was being bad. I was with some friends, we got into some things. Got locked up, and I did some time, came out. And then from when I was 13, that's when everything started. I started going in and out, doing time, till I hit 18.

Isabel: Could you tell me a bit about, I guess, more details in there, like what happened? What do you think caused that?

Weco: Money. When I was 13 I liked money a lot.

Isabel: Yeah.

Weco: So, the streets called us a lot.

Isabel: What did you like to buy?

Weco: Not even really buy, just... How can I say it? I'm going to just say how it is. We used to be young, crazy. When I was 13, I caught my first burglary. We broke into a house, stole a lot of things. We got caught for it. After that, since we got placed on probation, that's when it all started. I like smoking weed. I'm really a weed person. I don't mess with anything else; just weed.

Isabel: It's starting to be legalized in the U.S. too.

Weco: It has to be legalized. It has to. Everywhere. Even here. Even here.

Isabel: Why do you say that?

Weco: It's kind of dumb not to have weed legalized. Everybody smokes weed. Everybody growing weed. Anywhere you go, you see weed. Honestly, it's better. I think weed being legal makes a lot of things better.

Isabel: Yeah.

Weco: I think so. And it gets a lot more people connected. From my experience, if you got some good weed, you're going to get a lot of good customers. That's real, yeah.

Isabel: Is that how you formed a community with your friends, just like smoking and hanging out?

Weco: Yeah, that's what we really did: smoke, hang out. I've never really been a... Well, I was a troublemaker. But once I got deported, everything changed. I really just started relaxing.

Isabel: Can you tell me about the events that led to your deportation?

Weco: Yeah. I got locked up for selling drugs, a gun-

Isabel: Was it just weed or other drugs as well?

Weco: Let me remember at that time. No, at the time it was weed and coke. It was weed and coke and a handgun. I got arrested for that. I actually went to trial. I won my case, but you know after that, immigration, once they get ahold of you, you got to go with them.

Weco: So, they gave me a court date with them. But during that, I had to be transferred from one jail to another jail, from a state jail to an immigration jail. During that process, I asked the officer, I was like, "What's my situation look like?" Well, he told me straight up, he was like, "You're deported. Your case, you got..." So, I was like, "All right."

Weco: During the process, I knew where we were going to. I know where I live. I know my area. You know when somebody knows where they live?

Isabel: Yeah, yeah. It's your hometown.

Weco: So, I was like, "Man. We've got an hour to get there. I got an hour to get away. Somebody is going to lose this one." So, during that process, I actually was able to take my handcuffs off.

Isabel: How'd you do that? Just removed them?

Weco: Yeah, I pulled them out. I pulled them out. He didn't put them on that tight. So, I pulled them out, I got loose. After that, we had a minivan. I still remember today. It's a minivan, the middle seats are not even there. I'm in the back seat. As soon as we get to where I was knowing we was going to get to, I said, "All right. We finna get off the freeway. It's a stop light. If that light turns red, I'm gone."

Isabel: How old were you?

Weco: I was 19, going on 20.

Isabel: Was it like an adrenaline? Were you nervous? What was it like in that moment?

Weco: My mind was just like, "Fuck it. It's my life or his life. It's going to be my life. He ain't going to..." I looked at it like just, "What? Just because he says and somebody higher than him says just because I'm illegal they're going to deport me? You're fucking with the wrong one. You're going to have to catch me." That's the way I looked at it. “You're fucking with the wrong one.”

Isabel: So, then the light turned red, and what happened?

Weco: As soon as we got there, the light was actually turning yellow. I was like, "Man, it's now or never." So, I just went ahead and got up. First thing I did was punch the window. It cracked. After that, he turned around. He was on the phone. I still remember the whole action. He was on the phone, dropped the phone. He was trying to put the car in park. He was trying to take his belt off. He was also trying to grab his gun and grab the cell phone at the same time, but it was just too much. So I just went ahead. And as soon as I punched the window, it came in my mind. I was like, "What am I doing?" I'm like, "Man, I just made this worse." So, I was like, "I might as well just complete with it."

Isabel: Right. Like the damage is done, you think?

Weco: If I did it, I might as well just do it. Because either way, if I don't do it, they're going to hit me with attempt to escape. It's like, "I might as well just go all the way out. I already did it." So, I just punched the window again, and my whole body went through it. I just fell, hit the floor, got up, hit the freeway, jumped a couple fences, hid through a alley, and I was gone. I was gone.

Isabel: So, what happened?

Weco: They didn't find me.

Isabel: What?

Weco: They didn't find me. It took them four days to find me.

Isabel: Where were you? Where were you?

Weco: Just back and forth, back and forth.

Isabel: Did you have contact with your family at all? Did you have your kid at this time?

Weco: My baby mama was pregnant at the time.

Isabel: Okay. But your kid wasn't born yet?

Weco: No, he wasn't born yet. I had contact with my people a little bit. I actually had to call my mom because I had some money that I needed to get to leave the States, because I knew the case. My case went from a state case to a federal case. They actually started wiring my mom's phone. They actually had a car outside my mom. Every time she went to work, they followed her. So, I knew my case. I made it worse. So, I was like, "I got to get out the state."

Isabel: Do you regret doing that?

Weco: Yes and no. Yes, because I lost a lot of opportunities. It could have been better for me. And then no, because I went all the way out. I went all the way out. Immigration knows. I know if I were to go back out there, they're going to be like, "Yeah, that's-"

Isabel: Yeah, they know you.

Weco: "That's that motherfucker right there." And after that I did what? They caught me after four days later. I actually stayed hiding for a couple of days between houses there and then. They would follow my mama's son at the time. They would follow my mom everywhere. Actually, every time I had somebody do something for me, I would be following them while the FBI was following them.

Isabel: Oh my goodness.

Weco: It was two occasions when I see them stop my baby mama in her car and somebody else because I had them go pick up money and clothes. As they would stop them at a gas station, I'd be across the street watching the whole scene.

Isabel: That's so annoying. Were you entertained by this, or was it nerve wracking?

Weco: Both. I was entertained, and I was kind of nervous. I was nervous because I was like, "Man, if I know I get caught right now, it's the wraps." And then at the same time, I was thinking, "Oh, they're so stupid. They think they know it all, but they don't."

Isabel: Yeah, so kind of mix.

Weco: Yeah, it was a mix, really.

Isabel: Then you were detained for... You were how old, I guess, in this case? For two years, you said?

Weco: Yeah. I did actually two years trying to fight my case, trying to stay legal.

Isabel: What were the conditions for-

Weco: Because, actually, I escaped, right?

Isabel: Right.

Weco: So, after four days after I got caught, they took me to jail. I actually did eight months with federal. I did federal time first. Then the judge actually gave me time served since it was my first time. I was the first offender that was 19 years old in there. Even my lawyer that was there, she was like, "You're my first young offender here in federal court."

Isabel: Were you way younger than everybody else there?

Weco: Yeah.

Isabel: What was that like?

Weco: I don't know. I was just like, "Damn. Don't tell me that. You're going to make me feel fucked up. Damn. I'm finna do some time." Because they told me maximum for that is eight years.

Isabel: That's like-

Weco: So I was like, "Damn. Eight years? Just to get deported after that." I was like, "Man." I really didn't care about it. My main concern was I got a son on the way. I was like, "Eight years just for some crap?” I was like, “yeah, I did mess up."

Weco: So, then I just went. They gave me a time served. After that, I went to immigration. There I fought my case. This was a little different. Here I fought my case. They actually gave me bond here. This situation I only did in total a year and three months. I got out on bond. I went to my two immigration court dates. First one, they denied me. By the second one, my son was already born. So, my lawyer fought for it. He was like, "His first time being a father," this and that. "Give him an opportunity." They did. They gave me a bond, $8,000, so I paid it.

Weco: I was out for a year, then going to a party, hanging out with the friends, I got into a fight. Things happened. Luckily, I was the only one known there at that place. It was like if we go to a party, they just know me. This person got really messed up, ended up in the hospital. Three weeks later I found out I got a warrant for my arrest. I looked up, I called my lawyer and was like, "Hey, what's going on?" He's like, "For a fight. Best thing to do is turn yourself in. You got a record of escaping." As a minor, I got two escapes. As an adult, I got one. So, I'm automatically an escapee under their eyes.

Weco: So, he's like, "Turn yourself in. It looks better for you. It will make it look like you're trying to get things right, trying to do right." So I was like, "All right. Just give me a minute. Let me get some money. I got to leave some money at home, got to leave some money for me too." He's like, "All right."

Weco: So, after that, I turned myself in. I did four months with the state. They dropped some of the charges, then I did some time. Then after that, immigration came and picked me up again for violating my first bond. Then that's when I actually did two years trying to fight my case.

Isabel: What were those two years like?

Weco: Just boring, boring. Time is time. I can do time. I look at it like if you're going to do the crime, you're going to have to do the time either way. Ain't no whining or crying. That's the way I look at it, you know?

Isabel: Yeah.

Weco: If you really want to be out here in the streets and doing your bullshit, you're going to have to wait. You going to have to bear with the time. When I was locked up, I just really gambled. I like playing cards and gambling for money. That's how I did my two years.

Isabel: Did you ever get to see your kid? Did he come and visit?

Weco: No.

Isabel: No? Did you get to see them before you left?

Weco: My mama.

Isabel: Your mom? You got to see her?

Weco: Only because she wanted to. I told her not to.

Isabel: Why is that?

Weco: I didn't want to see nobody. For me, I knew it was going to be harder for my mom than it was going to be harder for me, so I didn't want to see my mama cry. Because at the end of the day, it was going to make me hurt. So I was like, "I'd rather just not see you. I haven't seen you in so many years already. To not see you before I leave to another state, I would prefer that." And I told my mama that.

Isabel: But she came anyways.

Weco: Yeah, she came anyways. I told her, "Don't come. Just leave me some money and some shit and go home." Next thing you know, I woke up, they go, "You got a visit." I was like, "Damn. She had to stay." And first thing she did was cry. I already knew. I was like, "Ma, don't start crying, man. If you're going to visit me, don't even cry. I'm going to turn this off on you right now." And she stopped crying.

Isabel: Oh, she did?

Weco: Yeah, because I told her. I was like, "I don't want to see you cry. At the end of the day, I got myself into this. What are you going to cry for?

Isabel: Yeah. Are you still in contact?

Weco: Actually, since I got deported, my communication with my mom, everybody, has kind of been down. We don't talk like that no more.

Isabel: Before we get to that, just to go back a little bit, can you tell me about your deportation and return to Mexico a bit? I guess return in parentheses, since you kind of grew up...

Weco: It was all right. It kind of was hard to get used to it, walking around, looking. I'm used to having my car out there, having my own things. So, having to go from a car to a train, which is a metro here, going out there, it was difficult. Food wise, I'm used to just eating anything over there and going to some quick restaurant, whatever it is, fast food.

Isabel: Yeah. What do you miss the most?

Weco: Where I stayed at, we had Steak 'n Shake Rally's. I miss that so much. Out here we don't have that. The only thing I've actually had out here was IHOP, which is good. I like IHOP. But other than that, McDonald's don’t taste the same, I think. It's kind of different.

Isabel: No, I think that's pretty common. Do you think that your adjustment was more difficult because you didn't really grow up here at all?

Weco: Yeah.

Isabel: Did it feel like you were entering just a completely new country?

Weco: That's what it felt like, like they just dropped me off in the jungle.

Isabel: Yeah.

Weco: Just said, "Here. Just go from here. You're on your own." And mainly it's just I had no family out here. They just dropped me off and said, "You're on your own."

Isabel: We walked in here, and two people were like, "Hey, what's up?" How did you make your community here, some friends? Do you feel like you have any, I guess? I don't want to assume anything. Do you feel like you have?

Weco: Yeah, yeah. I have. The way I am, the way I carry myself, and the way I talk. One thing my mama always told me since I was little, she was like, "No matter what, tell the truth. You've got to keep it real. If you don't like somebody let them know. 'I don't like you. I ain't going to talk.' If you like somebody, let them know. 'You're all right. We can talk, whatever.' If you don't, just avoid the people." My mama always told me that. "Keep it real. Number one thing: keep it real no matter what." That's what I do, and a lot of people like me for that, because no matter what or who it is, I keep it real. I done have occasions with my supervisors where I lit them up. I don't care. I go, "You're just my supervisor." It's just the way it is. If I don't like the way you treat me, I'm going to let you know. I'm going to talk the way I have to talk.

Isabel: Where do you think… you said your mom instilled that kind of mentality or value. Do you attribute a lot of your personality and stuff to your mom? Or what do you think really shaped you?

Weco: I think my mom on one hand side, and the streets. My mom and the streets.

Isabel: In what way?

Weco: Because my mom was hard with me. She was never that, "What you need? I got you." Or "What's going on? I got you." She was like, "What's going on? That's your problem. You did that. That's your problem. You need what? Go get it yourself." I had a hard mom. I love her though, but she was pretty tough on me.

Isabel: Yeah, tough love.

Weco: Tough love. More than my brothers, because they can ask for, "Oh, I need this." "Get them." I don't see why she did that, but sometimes I'd be like it might've been for a good thing because I am who I am now.

Isabel: And your brothers are citizens, right?

Weco: Yeah, my brothers are citizens.

Isabel: So, you were the oldest and you were born in Mexico before you came here?

Weco: Yep.

Isabel: Did you ever talk about that together? Was there ever a dynamic or differences in what you were able to do?

Weco: Oh, yeah, I used to... With my mom?

Isabel: Oh, no. Just with you. Or with your mom too.

Weco: No, I used to tell my mama like, "Damn, mom. You should've got pregnant in the States. You should have had me out there. I wouldn't be out here suffering." But I like it though. I look at it like it's a life experience. Everything's an adventure in this life. As soon as I got deported, I was like, "This is an adventure." They say Mexico is bad. Out here it's not bad. Out here there's just a lot of cops. You see everybody. You can get took care of. You can get robbed or whatever, the camo is out there. If you go to where I live, it's a whole-

Isabel: Where do you live?

Weco: Ecatepec. It's known for the worst area, and it's known for its... It's just known. Even Ubers won't go out there.

Isabel: Really?

Weco: Yeah.

Isabel: I don't know anything. What's it known for?

Weco: Stealing, kidnapping, killing, drugs. Yeah, it's pretty bad.

Isabel: Yeah, it sounds pretty intense.

Weco: It is. It is. A lot of people tell me I got to get up out of there, but I grew up out there in the States too in the hood, you know, and I like the hood. It's part of me. I like it. I've had women before. Women are like, "I'm going to take you out." Sorry.

Isabel: So that's sort of ironically your comfort zone in a way? [crosstalk 00:18:22].

Weco: I like it. I like it. Yeah, it's my comfort zone. I like it because I can be me. Because I know out here if I talk some certain way or dress some certain way or whatever some way, They're not out to judge like that. That's the number one thing out here in Mexico I don't like. They're quick to judge you. You got a tattoo, you got some type of dress, you smoke, whatever, they're quick to judge you. I don't like that. So, I prefer being in the hood because the hood knows what it's like. The hood suffers. I've been through not having no money. I done been through having to struggle, having to get some money. I know what it's like suffering, so I prefer being with the people that know what it's like to being with some other people that don't know what it's like. Because at the end of the day, they get it all. They're being able to get whatever they want whenever they want.

Weco: And on the other side, you're not. You're having to suffer. You're having to deal with it. You actually live in reality. You're not living a dream. You're not getting things from other people. You're having to get it on your own. That's what sorted me out here as soon as I got out here, because out there in the States, if I had a problem or something, I could hit somebody up or my mom. I would just be like, "Hey, let me borrow some, and I'll pay you back." Out here you're on your own.

Isabel: Hm.

Weco: Since I've been out here, yeah, I lost more contact with my family, relationship's going lower than what it was back then. But the way I look at it, we're all borrowed in this life. We're just born one time. We're going to die at the end of the day. I told my mama that one time, I'm like, "Mom, I'm borrowed. At the end of the day, I'm really not even yours. I was born, you take care of me 18 years, and I'm gone on my own. At the end of the day, that’s what’s going to happen. Everybody continues with their own life. At the end of the day, you're going to die some day. My life is going to continue. My brother's life is going to continue. Everybody's going life continue. Why cry? Why suffer? What's the point of it?"

Isabel: We only have so much time.

Weco: Exactly. Might as well just enjoy my time. If I can have you with me, of course I'm going to enjoy the time. But if I can't, and I'm the one who did this, then I'm going to deal with it. I'm going to suffer the consequences.

Isabel: Have you come to terms with it?

Weco: Yeah.

Isabel: Yeah, continue. So, this is kind of going against what you were saying in terms of just living in the moment and just taking things as they are…

Weco: Yeah.

Isabel: … but if I were to just stretch you a little bit, what would your hopes be if you were still in the U.S.? What would you like to be doing?

Weco: If I was still in the U.S., I think I'd still have my job that I had out there, which was the cleaning, and I'd just be out there taking care of my son. That's all I was out there. When I actually got out on my bond and I had my son with me for that period of time, that's all I did. Just went to work, relaxed, came home. That's it. That's all I really done. After I had my son, I really stopped. I stopped all my bull crap. I grew up without a father, so I know what it's like. I told myself that's what they want, and I actually failed at that because I'm down here and he's down there. It hurts me sometimes, but at the end of the day, I made the decision. So, I have to deal with that. But I can tell everybody he going to grow up. He going to know the truth. He's going to know I fucked up. So if he accepts it, then we go from there. If he don't, I got to deal with the consequence.

Isabel: Yeah. We ask that question partially because there's a lot of assumptions and stereotypes about who the U.S. is deporting. I think it's important to know like, "What do you think you would be doing in the U.S." And like, "Oh, I'd be taking care of my son. I didn't have a father growing up, and yeah, I did some stuff I regret or maybe made some mistakes in the past. But I knew what I would be doing then." There's the assumption like, "Oh, well, here's his track record, and that's what he'd continue to be doing. We need to deport him."

Weco: That's what they really go off, the record. That's all I remember. He just looked me up. "His record is this."

Isabel: They don't look at the person.

Weco: That's what I used to fight. That's why I actually stayed two years, because I was trying to fight them.

Isabel: Yeah, you believed in yourself.

Weco: Yeah, I was like, "I messed up at that first time. Yeah, I escaped. I did my case were bigger than what it was supposed to be. You caught me. I'm not going to lie. You caught me. And if you did it-"

Isabel: You were still pretty smart about it though.

Weco: Yeah, yeah. I was like, "If you didn't catch me, I'd still be there right now. But no, things worked out for a reason. You caught me for a reason." Everything happened for a reason. And like I told the judge before they deported me, I was like, "Look, Your Honor, I turned myself in. I got the record of not turning myself in. I actually got a record of escaping, running from the law during transportation, during whatever the situation is. But that's my record, running."

Weco: And I told him just like that. "I'm actually trying to change. I got a son that was just born. He's not that many months old. It's something big, you know something big for me." But all I remember is actually him asking my baby mama, "Does he got insurance?" She was like, "Yeah. Anything would happen to him, insurance will cover him. He don't need his dad." So I just stood quiet. I was just like, "All right." My judge, my lawyer was like, "Anything else?" I just told him... I really went off. I just told the judge, I was like, "Think what you want. Feel how you want. But at the end of the day, somehow, some way, I'm a gonna to come back. You can take me away from my mom, anybody, but not my son. At the end of the day, I'm a gonna to come back. You're a judge. You've just got a black thing on. You ain't nobody to tell me shit. You ain't nobody. This courtroom ain't nobody. These handcuffs ain't nobody.

Isabel: Did you say this?

Weco: Yeah, I said that during courtroom.

Isabel: Wow. You really did tell them. You're really honest. Yeah.

Weco: Yeah, I told him. My lawyer kept telling me to be quiet, and I told my lawyer, "No. Fuck that. You know, They're going-"

Isabel: It's already been [crosstalk 00:24:00].

Weco: Yeah, I'm already deported. What else are they going to do? Keep me here another month? I don't think they're going to want that. They want me out of here. So, I just let the judge know how I felt. I told him, "Either way, somehow I'm going to come back, legal or illegal." At the end of the day, you're not going to stop no Mexican from coming over. No one will. Never.

Isabel: The president's learning that the hard way, I think.

Weco: The way I look at it, and I told him, I'm like, "I actually feel like we're better than you mentality wise, because you're building walls. You're building anything, underground, whatever, and we're still coming over.

Isabel: Yeah.

Weco: Still coming over. Somehow, some way, we're still coming over. Either it's 10 people, or there's five people. It's either one, or it's 20. But we're coming over, and you're not going to stop it."

Isabel: I'm sure he loved to hear that.

Weco: I'd love to pass out to Trump too.

Isabel: Well, we're trying to create a platform for you to be able to have a voice as well. To flip that question to now that you are in Mexico, what do want to do? Do you have any hopes? I know you said you want to go back to the U.S. Is that the goal, or what it is for right now?

Weco: I don't know really. I have been through so much in life. I just look at it as just whatever's going to happen is going to happen now. You can plan something for now, but shit changes. Sometimes things go from good to bad. Some things bad from good. You can't really tell life. It's destiny. I just made it to my mind where we're going to take it day by day. Whatever happens, happens. If I make it back, I would be so excited. If I don't, I don't. But at the end of the day, I look at it like either way, if I'm going to be here... I got deported 10 years. I've been here two. So, if I'm going to be here for 10 years, trying to be good and try to go back, I at least got to have some type of a life. I'm going to date somebody if I'm going to have more kids or whatever. But at the end of the day, I have that right to live my life. So, I just live it day by day.

Isabel: Yeah.

Weco: Day by day. Because at the end of the day, I could end up getting a girl out here or meeting a girl out here that will change my mentality. And it'll be like, "You know what? I actually like it." Things happen.

Isabel: Yeah. Who knows?

Weco: Things happen. I just look at it like that. Things happen. Or I could get the opportunity to go back, or I could die. It's just life. I just look at it day by day. Whatever happens is going to happen.

Isabel: A lot of people we talk to, I think, understandably so, feel kind of frozen in time. They think like their life is continuing in the U.S. without them, and that can be really difficult to reconcile with being in Mexico too.

Weco: I had it like that. My first year I had it like that. I would look at the time, and I'd be like, "Down there it's this time." I would live off that time instead of living off this time. Every day I'd be like, "If I was down there, I'd be doing this. If I was eating right now, I'd be eating this." My mind wouldn't be here. My body would be here, but my mind wouldn't be over... Till it just clicked in. I was like, "Man, you're screwed, dude. You're not going nowhere. Just get that shit out your mind and let’s face reality." That's what I'm doing: facing reality.

Isabel: I think that takes a lot of willpower though.

Weco: It does, but what other option do we have? A lot of people would rather just live off a dream or live off something else instead of facing reality and looking at it like you know, this is life. I have no other option. This is what I got to deal with. Some other people would rather just give themselves a visuality or a dream that ah, things will get better or this or that. I look at it no, life is life. If it gets better, it gets better. If it don't, it don't. But at the end of the way, you're living life. At the end of the day, this is one life we have. Why waste it? It's one time. We ain't gonna to live this life again. Why waste it? I had my fun in the States. I won't lie. I did everything I wanted to. Once I got deported, I just, you know, all I do here is work. I smoke weed. I like weed. I don't lie.

Isabel: Yeah.

Weco: That's it.

Isabel: Do you think weed is just something to relax here and have fun, or do you think it gives you a break from where you are?

Weco: Yeah, it can do both, depending also on the person. Every person's body is different. Every person takes it different. Me, I actually take it to relax me. Sometimes I actually just take it just to have fun, relax and chill, depending on the moment. There are days I work when I get so frustrated I just need to smoke to just relax my mind where I'm just like, "All right, I'm cool." Because it brings me to where, "Fuck it. It was just a phone call. It was his job. Fuck ‘em. It is what it is." And then when I'm with friends, we're just like, "Oh yeah, let's smoke. Just laughs." Right there it's just haha, giggles, laughs, you're just clowning on people.

Isabel: Everything's funny.

Weco: Yeah, everything's funny. You're just roasting. And I'm one of those. I get to roasting everybody. I just like to have fun. So, yeah. sometimes I do use weed to get my depression out.

Isabel: Yeah.

Weco: Sometimes it comes around when you get depressed being out here on your own. But like I said, I just smoke. When I smoke, it goes away. My mentality switches to, "Look, you're on your own. Why suffer? Why cry?" My mentality just switches quick, and I stop being depressed about it. It is what it is. Why?

Isabel: Yeah. You said it was harder at first when you came here-

Weco: In the beginning.

Isabel: ... and it's gotten better as you [crosstalk 00:29:42]-

Weco: I just look at it like it's-

Isabel: ... or do you think it fluctuates?

Weco: It floats, but I'm happy in my life. That's all that really matters. I'm alive. Either way, I'm good. Either way, I'm good. I don't care. I could be over there. I could be over here. I'm good.

Isabel: Nice. We have some questions that we ask everyone. You can do with them what you will. Do you consider yourself Mexican or American? American like United States.

Weco: Mexican.

Isabel: Mexican? Why is that?

Weco: It's in my blood. It's running through my veins. If I wasn't Mexican, they wouldn't talk about, "Oh, you gotta get deported." It's in my veins. I always say I'm Mexican. I'm proud of it. I love it. It's in my veins. We're the shit. We're the shit. This is the way I look at it. Where I was at in the States, a lot of construction workers, a lot of working places outside, any type of hard work was really us. Really us. Hot sun, any type of thing, it's us. Also, drug wise, it's us. We're out there. We're both ways.

Isabel: You are really honest.

Weco: I'm just being honest. We're both ways, and Mexico is known for that. A lot of good people, working people, and then there's drug people. They've got both. But at the end of the day, it's just not us. Everywhere in the world there's going to be drugs. Everywhere in the world. It doesn't necessarily come from Mexico. Come from other States in the world, you know, Cuba, other places. Russia even moves things out there too. They're the mafia. They go on a big-

Isabel: Oh, they're not messing around.

Weco: I'll mess around and go to Russia too.

Isabel: Yes. Maybe you have a better perspective than I do.

Weco: Yeah, I like it though. I like it. I like life. I like life. You learn things. When you're in the streetwise, you learn a lot of things. You also, you learn to appreciate life. That's what you really do, because you go through experience, you go through things where you actually learn to appreciate life. It gets to a point in life where like, you're just like, "Damn. I did it all. I just want to relax." That's where I'm at. I did it all. I just want to go to work, smoke weed, and just chill. That's all I do every day.

Isabel: Is there anything you'd like to add or you want people to know about your experience?

Weco: No. All they hear is to legalize weed. That's it. That's it.

Isabel: To end on that note?

Weco: Yeah, that's it.

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