Live Like an Illegal Immigrant!

Secrets of the Good Life from OCs Undocumented

"They're always going to tell you that they can't go any lower on their prices," he says, adding, "The vendors are always lying."

His advice for bargaining: "Give them a price, and when they refuse it, say forget it and leave. Come back later in the day—like in the afternoon, before they leave—and ask them if they've sold it yet. Most likely, they'll say no. Then tell them that you'll buy it, but only if they reduce the price to what you originally offered. They'll be so desperate to sell by then you'll have a good bargain."

Lesson: Cash will always be the most fashionable accessory.

Ricardo's life consists of five days of strenuous labor and weekends jam-packed with parties.

"There's always more than four parties I can go to any Saturday," he says. Ricardo has merely plugged into his rancho's network of celebrations. "If it's not a wedding, then it's a baptism, quinceañera, a birthday party. Regardless, there's always great food and live music for dancing. Best of all, it's free!"

Of course, there comes a time in every person's life when they tire of parties and think about settling down. Joaquín was a loser with the ladies; he didn't have a car to pick them up or a place of his own, and the rigors of working 60 hours per week as an auto mechanic left him exhausted by Friday night.

"I still wanted a wife or at least someone to spend some time with," he says. Forgoing the women already here in the States ("They're too crazy for me," he says), Joaquín went back to his rancho in Guanajuato about five years ago and married a 17-year-old girl (he was 24 at the time). Their honeymoon: a trip back to el Norte with 10 other immigrants crammed in a van that slipped unnoticed past the migra.

"Down there, there are no guys left, and all the girls are dying to get out of the rancho," Joaquín says. "They'll marry anyone, even an ugly guy like me, as long as it means moving to the United States."

Lesson: The most important thing in love is . . . a 17-year-old girl?! Sweeeeeet!

"I try not to go out," says Susana. "I'm an illegal immigrant."

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