Among the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States was Angel Rodas, a 29-year-old Mexican. He lived as an undocumented immigrant for 10 years in Texas and New York and finally went back to Mexico this fall due to his disappointment in the system.

Gabriela Lira-Pizano interviewed him for Brooklyn News Service.

“I had nothing else to do. I believed. I tried so hard. I waited. I had faith, then I lost it,” Rodas told her. “I got desperate. What else could I do?”

It wasn’t always this way. At one time, Rodas believed that he could achieve the American dream. He tried three times to cross the U.S. border. “I wanted to come to America so badly, in order to progress, that I tried three times and finally succeeded in the third,” he said. “I was so happy that after four days in the desert, I finally could put my feet over American land. I was so happy and eager to start a new life.”