An undocumented existence: Julio Bonilla has crossed the border many times to find a better life

December 2, 2010

By Samantha Sais for the Tucson Weekly

Photo by Samantha Sais

NEW YORK—Julio Bonilla lives and works in East Harlem, N.Y., as a busboy and deliveryman for Pipo’s II Mexican Restaurant.

Bonilla, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, has joined the thousands of Mexicans who now call East Harlem home, making the Puerto Rican-dominated neighborhood into what is now known as “Little Mexico.”

In the last 20 years, more than 12,000 Mexican immigrants have moved into the community, according to U.S. Census data.

The peak season for people to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona is January through June, said David Jimarez, an agent in the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector.

The Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector is responsible for 262 miles of Arizona-Mexico border, he said. The Yuma Sector patrols the remaining 127 miles.

In fiscal year 2009, the Tucson Sector reported 241,000 apprehensions—which is less than half of what it was in 2000.

Crossing used to be much easier, said Bonilla, who crossed the border through Nogales.

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This entry was posted by Border Journalism Network.
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