Next Gen journalist Jennifer Collins brings us the story of one Salvadoran family through the eyes of many. This story is a part in a series in collaboration with journalists Manuel Ureste (whose work you can read HERE on AnimalPolitico in Spanish), Eric Lemus and Julia Botero.
More than 50,000 underage migrants, mostly from Central America, have been caught trying to cross the US southern border since the fall of 2013.
They face tremendous risks, just getting to that point. Some jump onto a freight train known as “The Beast,” where one wrong move could mean a lost limb — or worse. Some are kidnapped by drug cartels. So why, given all the risks, would any parent put their children through the journey?
Jose and Ester, who asked that their last name be withheld to protect their identity, are just such parents. They have two boys — the oldest is 11, the youngest is 9.
“They’ve been strong,”Ester said, referring to her boys as “my little bugs.” But she has been very worried about them.
“It’s not the same to say ‘Son, I love you’ from far away,” Ester said.
But that’s what they’ve been doing for years. Jose and Ester are undocumented immigrants from El Salvador, living in the suburbs of Baltimore. Like so many others, they left their kids behind to find work in the US. But El Salvador has become increasingly dangerous, especially the neighborhood where the boys live, near the northern town of Sonsonate.
“Sometimes, they have to take off running for the house because you can be caught in a gunfight there,” Jose said.