‘American Dream’: Migrant’s journey to legal employment

  • Many migrants face hardships while entering the U.S.
  • Border patrol agents say the flood of migrants is out of control
  • Josmar Alvarado, a migrant from Venezuela, shares his story about his dream

(NewsNation) — In the heart of New Jersey’s Rutherford borough, you’ll find Josmar Alvarado hustling through a trendy Italian restaurant. He’s a migrant from Venezuela, now legally employed.

He told NewsNation he’s simply living the “American Dream,” though his journey into the U.S. was anything but simple.

“It’s insane to think about somebody who has seen so much and has been through so much always trying to find positivity… Usually it tears people down but not with Josmar. He’s one heck of a dude,” Josmar’s manager Joy Muinde said.

The 26 year old left Venezuela and his family back in 2017, a country where the monthly income does not reach $6 dollars per month, which is far worse than Haiti and Cuba. 

It’s why Josmar made the tough decision to move to Ecuador. There he owned a cell phone accessory company and also drove a truck commercially.

He told NewsNation that he left Ecuador when men involved in organized crime came knocking. It came down to his life or money he didn’t have.

Josmar chose his life and a dream. 

“I believe in the American Dream, it’s a country full of opportunities, where you can have a better life, where you have freedom,” Josmar told NewsNation.

He set out for America last year when he saw on the news that migrants from Venezuela were getting in. He spent 32 days walking through multiple countries

He said the hardest was Colombia and the dreaded Darien Gap, deemed the most dangerous stretch of land on earth since it is controlled by indigenous gangs. Many migrants lose their life during this leg of the journey.

NewsNation met Josmar back in September on a bus chartered by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, going from Del Rio to Washington, D.C. He ended up in New Jersey where he moved in with his cousins, and of course, did the obligatory trip to New York City.

As per his Notice to Appear on his own recognizance, Josmar checked in with ICE immigration officers when he arrived. However, he wasn’t given a court date and still doesn’t have one. He plans to check in with ICE again in October, just after his one year mark.

Josmar said he has been very lucky every step of the way. One day, a conversation with an Uber driver led him to connect with a non-profit in New Jersey dedicated to helping Venezuelans like Josmar. There they helped him find his attorney who worked with him and his employer to get him cleared to work using the number provided to him through customs and border protection.

Josmar’s cousins got his foot in the door of the restaurant in Rutherford. So now, he shows up at Song E Napoli four days a week, for an 11 hour shift, with a smile on his face.

When it’s time to make the 20 minute commute to his apartment, where he pays $650 a month, Josmar hops on the local bus, where he has also made an impression. 

With a grateful heart, in a space he finally feels free, Josmar surrenders to sleep. He’s eager to wake up from his dreams and to watch them play out in reality. 

“My goal is to be a business owner, it’s all I want. To be an entrepreneur, to be an investor, and not depend on anyone else. To be my own boss one day,” Josmar said.

Josmar has been putting money into his savings to buy a car. He told NewsNation he’s in the process of getting his license right now, and he takes the written test in a few weeks. He’s trying to do everything legally so he can stay in America, and that includes paying taxes.

Elizabeth Vargas Reports

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending on NewsNation