My name is Ernesto Arroyo. I was born in Patzimaro, Michoacán, México in 1970. I went to school until the 7th grade. At 16, I crossed the border over to the U.S. to work, without papers. My first job here was harvesting strawberries in Watsonville, CA. After that I worked harvesting cherries and pears. After that, the harvesting of grapes in Napa began, and I left Watsonville to work there. That year, President Reagan approved the Amnesty program and that’s how I legalized my status. I kept on working another 2 years in Watsonville picking strawberries and by the 90’s I started working in Hills Vineyards, which is now Colinas Farming Company. I am very proud of working for this company because they have given me a lot of opportunities of working, learning different jobs, and responsibilities. These 22 years have made me more mature and responsible. The company gave me the opportunity to learn a bit of English by sending me to a school for a couple of months at the college. By the end of 1992, I was married to Letty, and now we have 3 children; Diana, Pedro and David. When it came time to renew my green card, my children motivated me to take the US citizenship test, which required me to be able to speak and write a bit in English and know some of the US history and laws, and become a citizen. I am very proud to finally be a part of this country.
The Arroyos (L-R): David, Ernesto, Leticia, Diana and Pedro