‘I'm No Longer Afraid': After Living Undocumented for 20 Years, an Immigrant Gets His Visa

Salvador Candia first crossed into the United States 20 years ago, risking his life in the desert

Migrante obtiene documentos legales tras 20 años
T20/Tania Luviano

This story was originally reported by NBC 7’s sister station, Telemundo 20. To read the article in Spanish, click here.

Getting to live in the United States legally is the dream of millions of undocumented migrants, and those who achieve it assure that it is not an easy path.

But the sacrifices are worth it, says Salvador Candia, a Mexican national who just got a U.S. Visa. He said that for the first time, his life has no limits.

Candia was living in the country as an undocumented immigrant and said he lived his life in fear while he worked in the U.S. to support his wife and daughter.

"I still can't believe the truth," says Salvador Candia in Spanish while holding up his U.S. visa to NBC 7's sister station Telemundo 20. "I feel like I came out of the shadows."

Salvador Candia with his family.

Candia first crossed into the United States two decades ago, risking his life in the desert. During his years in the U.S., he worked tough jobs and believed that living without fear was a distant dream.

"We have suffered many setbacks, discrimination and racism," he recalls.

But on Jan. 29, Candia crossed into Tijuana on his way to an appointment with immigration authorities in Ciudad Juárez.

"It's even worse when in front of you, you hear someone who was denied," he recalls fearfully.

But that fear today has turned into joy, and for the first time, the Mexican native walks through the streets of Chula Vista without having to watch his back. Telemundo 20 was present when he crossed the border.

inmigrante cruza la frontera de tijuana legalmente por primera vez en 20 años
Salvador Candia lining up to cross the San Ysidro Port of Entry from Tijuana to San Diego on February 6, 2022

"I feel that there is no obstacle, if the patrol with the green logo comes, I am no longer afraid," Candia said.

Salvador's immigration case is very common since his wife is a U.S. citizen, their lawyer said.

The key was that Salvador did not lie to his lawyer.

"You can lie to your priest, spouse, but not your lawyer," says Kevin Tracy, his immigration attorney.

For 20 years, Candia lived in fear and was unable to see his family. However, he was recently with his mother in Guerrero, Mexico for the last days of her life.

"Yes, it was worth it. It is a sacrifice that we, immigrants, have to pay," says Candia.

procesión funeral en Guerrero
Candia Family
Salvador Candia did not see his family for many years, but he was able to spend the last days of his life with his mother in Guerrero, Mexico. Here the procession of his burial.
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