Raised in the US without legal status, he attains the American dream — in Mexico – Los Angeles Times

Six years ago Bernardino Hernandez boarded a plane to Mexico City with not much — his high school yearbook, a printer and his college copy of “Thomas More’s Magician,” a novel about creating a utopian community in 16th century Mexico.

He had recently graduated from UC Davis, but he felt limited by his lack of legal status in the United States. Hernandez was 21 years old and unsure whether he’d ever reach his potential in a country that he’d called home since he was a toddler but that now wouldn’t allow him to work legally.

Before he departed, his disapproving father gave him $1,000 in cash but warned him, “I won’t pay for a coyote to bring you back.”

No need.

Though he gave up on his American dream in the U.S., he is now living it in Mexico.

“I was able to communicate, for example, Mexico’s business and learning needs to the U.S. headquarters, because often most of the programs or business models are U.S.-centric and do not consider the business culture in Mexico,” he said.

After only eight months, he worked his way up to management. It led to an opportunity to travel for business, and he was granted a U.S. business and tourism visa in January 2015.

A month later, he flew for the first time to the U.S. for a business trip to Florida. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent at the airport did a double take when he looked at Hernandez’s profile on the computer.

“What are you here for?” the agent asked.

“Business,” Hernandez said and smiled.

He was taken to another area and questioned about where he had lived in the U.S. when he was in the country illegally, but he was eventually let go.

Hernandez called his family from Miami to let them know he was stateside.

“They didn’t believe me,” he said.

In November, he launched a start-up called QuickTrans, which is something of an Uber in that it pairs translators, transcribers and interpreters with companies seeking those services. Some of his linguists are dreamers too. Hernandez runs the outfit from his kitchen table at home. His UC Davis diploma hangs on a wall above.

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