Rosa B. Murray

Boat Information

  • Vessel name: Rosa B. Murray
  • Arrival: May 23, 1980
  • Captain: n/a
  • Size: 66.7'
  • Use: Fish
  • Onboard when departed US: 21
  • Crew: 3
  • Refugees: 244
  • Total people onboard: 268
  • Coast guard remarks: n/a

Memories from the Passengers

Mildred Perdomo's memory of Rosa B. Murray
05/22/2010

My name is Mildred Perdomo. My friends call me Milly. I am an Asylum Officer working for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security with the
Asylum Division of the Refugee, Asylum and International Op (read the rest of this memory)erations Directorate. My story is not very peculiar, but I always wanted to share it with those that might understand. I arrived to this country as an eight years old child. I
was wearing a white top and red shorts. This is my story.
It was a hot morning on May 25, 1980, when my family left Cuba on the Rosa B. Murray shrimp-boat during the Mariel Exodus (“the Freedom Flotilla”). I guess that now you know my age, although in my culture, a lady never reveals her true age, it is too late now. In Cuba, we suffered oppression, persecution and hunger. We left with the clothes we were wearing. The Cuban government would not allow us to take even the documents that evidenced our personal history. By the time we reached the United States coast, our clothes were wet from the sea. Somehow, the Caribbean Sea baptized us. Thus, we became part of my adopted land, the United States of America. We arrived at the refugee camps in Florida without a cent. All we had was each other and the desire to work hard. The ride in the boat changed the destiny of my family. In Cuba, we endured terrible conditions at a refugee camp. Families waited for months for authorization from the Cuban government to leave the Island. Everybody slept in the grass, without a roof or sanitary facilities. On the meantime, political prisoners were harassed with German Sheperd dogs. Later that summer, the boat in which my aunt, uncle, and small cousin left Cuba, began to drown due to an excess of people. The American Coast Guard rescued them just in time to avoid another tragedy. These were the memories left of Cuba for the eight-year old girl who went to college, business school, and law school and now works for DHS. These experiences triggered a desire in me to protect refugees without neglecting the security of the American Homeland. The “adventures” of my childhood cultivated my curiosity in Immigration Law, developing my ability to work with people of different backgrounds. These adventures also shaped my life forever, not with bitterness or resentment, but with love and appreciation for this great nation, the United States of America.
My family comes from very humble beginnings, as evidenced by this story. In about three decades, the older generation managed to make a life for their children and for themselves in a new country where they did not speak the language, knew their customs, or share their history. They produced law-abiding children who went on to become lawyers, pastors, actors, librarians, engineers, accountants, and even an aspiring scientist. The road was not always easy. Sometimes at home, there was not enough to eat. Other times, Mom worked so many extra shifts at her factory that when she arrived home, her legs were stiff with pain. My father lost a finger working at his own factory. Without his finger, he later on pushed a hot dog cart down the streets of Puerto Rico (where we eventually moved to) to support the family. The stories are many, and if I was to write them all down right now, they would become a book. I know that you are a busy person, and my intent is not to bore you with details. I only wanted to thank this great nation and my uncle Mario Jordan and my aunt Luisa Jordan (our sponsors) for allowing me and my family to find happiness in this amazing country. My story has a happy ending. It was President Carter, who welcomed the Cuban refugees back in 1980 with open arms, as his famous words stated back at that time. The USA saved my life, ours lives. My parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and my sister, Ileana, would always be grateful. The alternative would have been to continue surviving in a sad island where freedom has become an empty word. Thanks to an act of generosity, I now work helping others to achieve their dreams in this country. I also work protecting this country by preventing those who want to harm this nation from staying here. Thank you, again. God Bless America.
Best,
Mildred
ps-If anyone wants to get in touch with me, do so at mperdomo17@yahoo.com.

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Mildred Perdomo's memory of Rosa B. Murray
05/24/2010

To Family and Friends:

My name is Mildred Perdomo. Today, May 25, 2010, I have been in this country for 30 years. This is my celebration of good versus evil, freedom over dictatorship. My friends call me Milly. I am an Asylum Officer working (read the rest of this memory)for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security with the Asylum Division of the Refugee, Asylum and International Operations Directorate. My story is not very peculiar, but I always wanted to share it with those that might understand. I arrived to this country as an eight years old child. I was wearing a white top and red shorts. This is my story.

It was a hot morning on May 25, 1980, when my family left Cuba on the Rosa B. Murray shrimp-boat during the Mariel Exodus (“the Freedom Flotilla”). I guess that now you know my age, although in my culture, a lady never reveals her true age, it is too late now. In Cuba, we suffered oppression, persecution and hunger. We left with the clothes we were wearing. The Cuban government would not allow us to take even the documents that evidenced our personal history. By the time we reached the United States coast, our clothes were wet from the sea. Somehow, the Caribbean Sea baptized us. Thus, we became part of my adopted land, the United States of America.

We arrived at the refugee camps in Florida without a cent. All we had was each other and the desire to work hard. The ride in the boat changed the destiny of my family. In Cuba, we endured terrible conditions at a refugee camp. Families waited for months for authorization from the Cuban government to leave the Island. Everybody slept in the grass, without a roof or sanitary facilities. On the meantime, political prisoners were harassed with German Shepherd dogs. Later that summer, the boat in which my aunt, uncle, and small cousin left Cuba, began to drown due to an excess of people. The American Coast Guard rescued them just in time to avoid another tragedy. These were the memories left of Cuba for the eight-year old girl who went to college, business school, and law school and now works for DHS. These experiences triggered a desire in me to protect refugees without neglecting the security of the American Homeland. The “adventures” of my childhood cultivated my curiosity in Immigration Law, developing my ability to work with people of different backgrounds.
These adventures also shaped my life forever, not with bitterness or resentment, but with love and appreciation for this great nation, the United States of America.

My family comes from very humble beginnings, as evidenced by this story. In about three decades, the older generation managed to make a life for their children and for themselves in a new country where they did not speak the language, knew their customs, or share their history. They produced law-abiding children who went on to become lawyers, pastors, actors, librarians, engineers, accountants, and even an aspiring scientist. The road was not always easy. Sometimes at home, there was not enough to eat. Other times, Mom worked so many extra shifts at her factory that when she arrived home, her legs were stiff with pain. My father lost a finger working at his own factory. Without his finger, he later on pushed a hot dog cart down the streets of Puerto Rico (where we eventually moved to and enjoyed a happy life with our Puerto Rican friends that became like family members) to support the family. The stories are many, and if I was to write them all down right now, they would become a book. I know that you are a busy person, and my intent is not to bore you with details. All I know is that in Puerto Rico, my friends made me feel at home, with their support and generosity without boundaries. Those are the friends that you never forget in life.

I only wanted to thank this great nation and my uncle Mario Jordan and my aunt Luisa Jordan (our sponsors) for allowing me and my family to find happiness in this amazing country. My story has a happy ending. It was President Carter, who welcomed the Cuban refugees back in 1980 with open arms, as his famous words stated back at that time. The USA saved my life, ours lives. My parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and my sister, Ileana, would always be grateful. The alternative would have been to continue surviving in a sad island where freedom has become an empty word. Thanks to an act of generosity, I now work helping others to achieve their dreams in this country. I also work protecting this country by preventing those who want to harm this nation from staying here. Thank you, again. God Bless America.

I also want to thank my family for always being a family no matter what. The elders taught the young generation to be law-abiding hard working individuals with great faith in this Nation. They made many sacrifices for us and that should never be forgotten. My advice to you, if you are reading, honor them, cherish them, because you have real heroes in your family.
My dear family, I love you with all my heart.
My dear friends everywhere, you are part of this journey.
God Bless America, and God Bless Puerto Rico.

God Bless you,

Prima Mildred
ps-If anyone wants to get in touch with me, do so at mperdomo17@yahoo.com.

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