Carlos Ramirez, 35, Alexander Ramirez, 15
Faces of Immigration

Faces of Immigration Day 40 of 40

(ASKED NOT TO PUBLISH LAST NAMES, OR EXACT LOCATIONS of family) Carlos, 35, and his son Alexander, 15, made their way through Mexico from Guatemala City where they left behind their families and lives because of extortion threats.

15 years ago, Carlos came to the United States and worked for five years on the East Coast. When he left, his wife was pregnant with his son Alexander. When his son was five years old, he decided to come back to Guatemala.

“We didn’t have the need to immigrate,” Carlos told me. He had worked hard saving money to help his wife set up a hair salon. Things were good and Carlos had fixed up their home so it was a nice place to raise children.

“After about two or three years of the business flourishing, they started to extort us, and they started requesting this money from us. They wanted 10,000 Quetzales per month.”

They were ordered to pay this for three months, totalling 30,000 Quetzales (about $4000). “And there was a call saying if we don’t pay this money, ‘we know all of your family And in any moment, if you don’t pay this money, one of them might disappear.”

Such a sum of money would have been impossible for them to pay, Carlos explained, “My wife maybe earned 80 Quetzales per day.” ($10) Carlos worked doing construction jobs and remodelling around the city, and also did not earn close to enough of what would be needed to pay such a fee in the short time period of 20 days they were given.

The major motivating factor was finally when the extortionists passed by their home firing a gun to incite fear. They shot a hole through their door.  “They succeeded in shooting my house, well that scared us so that the next day we woke up and got on the bus. ‘Vamos.’ We had to leave.”

In Guatemala, such a threat is always taken seriously, as there is little recourse legally.

Because of this, the family decided to close the business and leave Guatemala city to the countryside to stay with his wife’s family.

We had about 1,500 quetzales, and that’s all we had to survive with,” Carlos explained about leaving the city. In the countryside he didn’t know what to do for work. Carlos, never had worked in agriculture as he had worked solely doing remodelling. His wife’s livelihood was also taken away as long as she didn’t have a place to do hair. “We were stuck, literally in the streets,” he said, “I had my life made in Guatemala. That is what hurts me because I couldn’t do anything. I felt powerless about the situation.”

Having two kids to support, he and his wife made the difficult choice for him and Alexander to migrate to the United States. His brother who lives on the east coast, would take them in and help start the asylum process.

Carlos only hopes to work four or five years, his dream is to return for his daughter’s Quinceañera. “I come with the dream that when I return, I can give my daughter her 15 years.”

Carlos and Alexander had to cross through Mexico illegally to reach the US-Mexico border. Their 24-day-journey was difficult, making two attempts, the first of which they were apprehended by authorities.

“The rich people are the ones that have that,” he said describing his choice to pass through Mexico illegally rather than wait for a visa. Like almost all of the other Guatemalans who migrate, he couldn’t get a visa to come legally. A person must prove that they have enough money in their bank before being given a US visa.  “We barely have a place to live, we can’t apply for a visa. That is why we come in this way.”

Carlos is committed to going through the legal process of claiming political asylum due to the nature of his case. He hopes to be able to start working legally soon.

Alexander wants to learn English. It had always been his goal to be a doctor, and he hopes he can continue along that path.

“We aren’t asking for much, just a little more tolerance, that’s all,” Carlos said, “We just want the opportunity to work so that our kids can overcome. That is all that we ask for.”

Carlos, 35, y su hijo Alexander, 15, hicieron su viaje por México desde la Ciudad de Guatemala donde dejaron atrás a sus familias y sus vidas a causa de amenazas de extorsión.

Hace 15 años, Carlos estuvo en Estados Unidos por cinco años trabajando en la costa este. Cuando él se fue dejó a su esposa embarazada de su hijo Alexander. Cuando su hijo Alexander tenía cinco años, decidió regresar a casa en Guatemala.

“No teníamos la necesidad de migrar,” me dijo Carlos. Él había trabajado bastante duro y ahorrado dinero para que su esposa abriera su propio salón de belleza. Las cosas iban bien, Carlos había arreglado su casa para poder un buen lugar para vivir y criar a sus hijos.

“Después de dos o tres años de ver que nuestro negocio estaba prosperando, comenzaron a extorsionarnos, y nos empezaron a pedir dinero. Querían 10,000 quetzales por mes,”

Les demandaron que pagaran esto por tres meses, pagando un total de 30,000 quetzales (aproximadamente $4,000). “Nos llamaron y nos dijeron que, si no pagamos el dinero, ‘conocemos a toda tu familia y en cualquier momento, Si no pagas, uno de ellos puede desaparecer.”

Tal cantidad de dinero hubiera sido imposible para ellos pagar, me explico Carlos, “Mi esposa quizás gana 80 quetzales por día.” ($10) Carlos trabajaba en construcción y en remodelación en la ciudad, y tampoco ganaba lo suficiente para poder pagar esa cuota en 20 días, el poco tiempo que les habían dado para pagar.

El principal factor que lo motivó finalmente, fue cuando los extorsionistas pasaron y balearon su casa, para asustarlos. Una bala pasó por la puerta principal de su casa. “Tuvieron éxito en balacear mi casa, pues eso nos asustó, y decidimos subir a un autobús el siguiente día. ‘Vamos’ Nos tuvimos que ir.”

En Guatemala, tales amenazas siempre se toman en serio, ya que hay pocos recursos legales. Por esta razón, la familia decidió cerrar el negocio y dejar la Ciudad de Guatemala y vivir al campo con la familia de su esposa.

Teníamos más o menos como 1,500 quetzales, y era todo lo que teníamos para sobrevivir.” Carlos me explico cuando dejó la ciudad. En el campo él no sabía en qué trabajar. Carlos nunca había trabajado en agricultura ya que solamente había trabajado en remodelación. Para mi esposa, mientras no tuviera donde cortar pelo, también a ella le habían quitado su sustento. “Estábamos estancados, literalmente en las calles,” dijo él. “Yo tenía mi vida echa en Guatemala. Es lo que me duele, porque no podía hacer nada. Me sentía impotente sobre la situación,”

Al tener dos hijos que mantener, él y su esposa tomarán la difícil decisión para él y Alexander de migrar a los Estados Unidos. Su hermano que vive en la costa este, los recibiría y los ayudaría con el proceso de asilo político.

Carlos espera poder trabajar cuatro o cinco años, y su sueño es poder regresar a casa para la Quinceañera de su hija. “Yo vengo con el deseo de poder regresar y darle a mi hija su fiesta de 15 años.”

Carlos y Alexander tuvieron que pasar por México ilegalmente para llegar a la frontera de México-Estados Unidos. Su viaje de 24 días fue difícil, haciendo dos intentos, la cual la primera fueron detenidos por las autoridades

“La gente de dinero son las que tienen eso,” dijo él explicando su decisión de pasar por México como ilegal, en vez de poder obtener una visa. Como todos los otros guatemaltecos que emigran, él no pudo obtener una visa para entrar legalmente. La persona debe probar que tienen suficiente dinero en el banco para poder obtener una visa por USA. “Muy apenas tenemos un lugar donde vivir, no podemos pedir una visa. Por eso nos venimos de esta manera.”

Carlos está dispuesto a pasar por el proceso legal para pedir asilo político, a causa de la naturaleza de su causa. Espera poder trabajar pronto legalmente.

Alexander quiere aprender inglés. Siempre ha sido su meta de ser doctor y espera poder seguir por ese camino.

“No estamos pidiendo mucho, solo un poco de tolerancia, es todo,” dijo Carlos, “Solo queremos la oportunidad de trabajar para que nuestros hijos puedan seguir adelante. Es todo lo que pedimos,”

The Faces of Immigration Project is a 40 Day photo journal series used to highlight the stories of all Immigrants. The project is meant to shed light on some of the many reasons people have for immigrating to the U.S. Statements and stories have been edited for content, clarity, and brevity and may not reflect the entirety of an Immigrant’s reasons for immigrating to the United States.

By Paul Ratje

Go Here To Donate To Our Cause! https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=909fac

Faces of Immigration

Faces of Immigration Day 39 of 40

Moigu Standing Bear, 62, his wife Firda Standing Bear, 32, and their daughter Sophia Iris Standing Bear, 5, have recently moved to the United States from Indonesia last year. In 2018 the family decided to visit the United States for a few days, but due to unforeseen circumstances Mr. And Mrs. Standing Bear ended up staying in the country permanently for now. Firda is in the process of getting her immigrant visa on behalf of her United States Citizen husband.

Moigu is a Mohegan Native American, born and raised in Connecticut. He was once chief of a tribe for many years. He was involved in tribal politics, teaching tribal customs and traditions as well as being president of the National American Indian Defense Association. Moigu was also a chief of a tribe for many years.  He was involved in civil rights issues for Native Americans. He was much very involved in helping the Indian tribes and helping his people. He eventually decided to move to Indonesia in 2008 to work as a teacher in education, which he did for 10 years.

Firda was born and raised in Surabaya, Indonesia.  She worked in many jobs, but before meeting her husband she worked with a musician crew. “That’s how I can connect with him through songs actually, we discuss about songs and music, he is also a singer in his tribe as well, we talk about music a lot, and that’s how we have a our click toward each other,” she said.  Moigu helped his wife get a job as a teacher, which she loved very much after teaching and working with children.  

Firda’s immigration process is a little bit more difficult than the ordinary immigrant. She is trying to get legal status within the United States, but if she were to get deported, she wouldn’t just get sent to the border, she would actually get sent back to Indonesia. Her only option now is getting her work authorization as soon as possible to avoid any apprehensions and thus any deportations from Customs Border Patrol. “I never thought immigration was going to be that difficult,” he said about our immigration system. “I think we have it all to thank, is Mr. Trump who’s made things very difficult for anybody to migrate to this country,” he said.

Moigu and Firda, along with their daughter Sophia, went thru very difficult times at their arrival in this country. Upon arrival they were staying with Moigu’s friend, but ended up at a shelter in Santa Fe, New Mexico because they were unable to return to Indonesia. Moigu is under medical treatment for heart and liver failure.  His doctor prohibited any air travel due to his heart condition, and for this reason they cannot return to Indonesia. They hope she can get her legal status soon, as they don’t plan on a separation for any reason. “The thing is I don’t know how I’m going to feel leaving my daughter here, I don’t know how he’s going to feel taking my daughter with me, so we’ve never separate in our 10-year marriage, so we like to stay as a family,” she said.

 

The Faces of Immigration Project is a 40 Day photo journal series used to highlight the stories of all Immigrants. The project is meant to shed light on some of the many reasons people have for immigrating to the U.S. Statements and stories have been edited for content, clarity, and brevity and may not reflect the entirety of an Immigrant’s reasons for immigrating to the United States.

 

By Paul Ratje

 

Go Here To Donate To Our Cause! https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=909fac

Faces of Immigration

Faces of Immigration Day 38 of 40

Juan Ramon Lopez, 36, and his son Juan Jose Lopez, 15, come from Salama, Department of Baja Verapaz in Guatemala. Juan Ramon leaves behind his wife and three children. His journey through Mexico lasted 12 days until he reached Ciudad Juarez, the border of Mexico- United States.

Juan Ramon and his son Juan Jose traveled through Mexico with a guide or “coyote”, to whom they paid $4,500 dollars for their services. During their journey, they traveled by freight car, bus, and private vehicle. “It was very difficult. We were placed inside a freight car with a capacity of 30 people, but we were 50, with no food for a day and a half, we had to sleep on the floor of an outdoor vacant land,” he said. In a few occasions they were detained by law enforcement and the federals, which they had to bribe so they could let them through.

Juan Ramon had previously been in the United States in 2008. He had entered with a work visa through a company who had told them, that once in the United States, they would be able to renew their work authorization. When it was time to renew their work visa, the company informed them that they were not going to be able to help them. Due to the economic recession and the lack of work permit, he had to return to his country of origin. “Maybe if i had done well, I wouldn’t of have left, because we all come here with the intentions of being able to be self-sustaining in this country,” he said.

The violence in Guatemala is very strong and very dangerous. Juan Ramon told us, that you can be driving on the highway and be assaulted at any time.  “You can be driving down the highway, and even after driving a good motorcycle with a strong cylinder capacity, they will cut you off with a vehicle, and assault you at gunpoint, and it’s worse in the Capital City,” he said. The “Mara Salvatrucha” gang, has been known to be very dangerous, in Mexico as well as all Central America. Much of this violence is due to this gang, and unfortunately in some parts of Guatemala it continues to grow.

Juan Ramos speaks a little English, and he would love to continue learning the language and his son Juan Jose is interested in being an electrician and his desire is to study so he can work in this field.  They were apprehended by border patrol and were detained for 3 days. Now that they have been released, they will be going to Houston, Texas where his brother is waiting for them.

Juan Ramón Lopez, 36, y su hijo Juan José López, 15, son de Salama, Departamento de Baja Verapaz, en Guatemala. Juan Ramón deja atrás a su esposa y tres hijos.  Su viaje por México fue de 12 días hasta llegar a Ciudad Juárez, frontera de México- Estados Unidos.

Juan Ramon y su hijo Juan José viajaron por México usando un guía o “coyote”, al cual pagaron $4,500 dólares por sus servicios.  En el trayecto del viaje su transportación fue por vagón, autobus, y carro particular. “Fue muy difícil, nos metieron a un vagón con capacidad de 30 personas, pero éramos como 50, sin comer nada por un dia y medio, nos tocó dormir en el piso en un terreno baldío en intemperie,” dijo Juan Ramon. En varias ocasiones fueron detenidos por los municipales y los federales, los cuales tuvieron que sobornar para que los dejaran pasar.  

Juan Ramón ya había estado anteriormente viviendo en los Estados Unidos en el 2008.  El había entrado con una visa de trabajo por parte de una empresa que les habían dicho, que ya estando en los Estados Unidos iban a poder renovar su permiso.  Cuando se llegó el tiempo de renovar su permiso, la empresa les anuncio que no les iban a poder ayudar. Por causa de la recesión económica, y falta de permiso de trabajo, el tuvo que regresar a su país de origen. “Quizas si me hubiera ido bien, no hubiera tenido que partir, porque todos nos venimos con la intención de poder ser auto suficientes en este país,” dijo el.  

La delincuencia en Guatemala está fuerte, y es muy peligrosa. Nos cuenta Juan Ramón que puedes estar viajando por la autopista y ser asaltado en cualquier momento. “Usted va allí en la autopista y aunque lleve una moto de buen cilindraje, le atraviesan un carro y lo bajan a punto de pistola y en la capital, peor todavía,” dijo el. Se sabe que la pandilla “Mara Salvatrucha” es muy peligrosa, tanto en México como en todo centroamérica. Mucha de la delincuencia proviene de esta pandilla y desafortunadamente en algunas partes de Guatemala la violencia sigue creciendo.  

Juan Ramón, habla poco inglés pero le gustaría seguir aprendiendo el idioma y a su hijo Juan José le interesa la profesión de electricidad y su deseo es poder estudiar para poder trabajar en esta profesión. Ellos fueron detenidos por la patrulla fronteriza y estuvieron en el centro de detención por 3 días. Después de haber sido liberados, ellos se dirigen a Houston, Texas, donde los espera su hermano.

 

The Faces of Immigration Project is a 40 Day photo journal series used to highlight the stories of all Immigrants. The project is meant to shed light on some of the many reasons people have for immigrating to the U.S. Statements and stories have been edited for content, clarity, and brevity and may not reflect the entirety of an Immigrant’s reasons for immigrating to the United States.

 

By Paul Ratje

Go Here To Donate To Our Cause! https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=909fac

Darling Vargas Picado, 43, Eliezer Josue Vargas Picado, 15,
Faces of Immigration

Faces of Immigration Day 35 of 40

Darling Vargas Picado, 43, and her two kids Eliezer Josue Vargas Picado, 15, and Aurora Tamara Velasquez Vargas, 10, came together from Matagalpa, Nicaragua and were given food and shelter at Our Lady of Purification Church in Dona Ana, New Mexico the day they were released from ICE. They traveled through Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico, to get to the border of Mexico – United States, to seek asylum.

Back home, she owned a small ‘pulperia’ or small store selling groceries and general food items. Up until 2018 when the protests against President Daniel Ortega began, everything was going well for her and her business, but after this began the difficulties and the fears. All businesses began to shut down due to the war against the people and the government, and she as well had to close her business.

The president of Nicaragua began to decrease social security benefits to the elderly, “The students stood up to the government and began a war in favor of the elderly. Practically a civil war because the students were defending their people. That’s when the war began between the people and the government on April 18, 2019.” she said describing the political situation in her country.

Darling would take her daughter to school every day, where she had to pass a barricade, and she would provide food and money to her nephew, whom was part of the protest against the government. Her nephew, eventually fled the country with his family, in fear of their lives. “They (the government) began to search for him and couldn’t find him, they looked for his siblings, his children, his mother, but he had already migrated to another country, so they began to look for his family members, in this came ‘me’, because they saw me giving him food and money while he was barricaded,” she described the situation and her decision in leaving her country.

A lot of dead bodies of young people were found during this time, and many people were murdered in cause of this protest. “Demonstrators of these marches, would get arrested, beaten, and then they would be released from jail and let go, without telling them why they had been detained, one would just relate the political situation.” she said. “These were horrible crimes, they would do against the people who were being framed for supporting their own people, against a dictator who wants to have power and control over the country, the people, and everything else,”

Darling fears of a deportation and an arrest, because, like many migrants that have been deported to her country, in fact, have gone straight to jail for fleeing the country and migrating to the United States. “What we want is to be safe, and then return to our country when the political situation gets better.” she said.  Her desire is to maintain her location a secret for fear of prosecution by her government.

Darling Vargas Picado, 43, y sus dos hijos, Eliezer Josué Vargas Picado, 15, y Aurora Tamara Velásquez Vargas, 10, vienen juntos desde Matagalpa, Nicaragua, y fueron ofrecidos albergue y alimento en la parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Purificación en Doña Ana, Nuevo México, el día que fueron liberados por ICE. Ellos tuvieron que viajar por Honduras, Guatemala, y México para llegar a la frontera de Estados Unidos – México a pedir asilo.

En su país de origen, ella era dueña de una “pulpería” o en otras palabras un súper mercado donde se venden productos de alimento. Todo estaba bien con su negocio, hasta que comenzaron las marchas en contra del Presidente Daniel Ortega, y después empezaron las dificultades y los miedos. Los negocias comenzaron a cerrar a causa de la polémica entre la población y el gobierno y ella también tuvo que cerrar su negocio.

El Presidente de Nicaragua empezó a quitarle los beneficios de seguro a los ancianos, “Los estudiantes se levantan en contra del gobierno y empieza la guerra a favor de los ancianos. Prácticamente una guerra civil porque los jóvenes los empiezan a defender. Es cuando comienza el 18 de abril de 2018 la pelea contra la población y el gobierno,” dijo ella explicando la situación política en su país.

Darling llevaba a su hija al colegio todos los días, donde pasaba por un trance, donde le daba alimento y dinero a su sobrino que participaba en las marchas encontrar del gobierno. Su sobrino tuvo que huir de su país con su familia, porque su vida corría peligro. “A él lo comenzaron a buscar (el gobierno) y no lo encontraban, buscaron a sus hermanos, a sus hijos, y a su mamá, pero él ya había migrado a otro país, y comenzaron a buscar a sus familiares, en este caso a mí, porque miraron que yo le llevaba comida y dinero cuando pasaba por el trance,” dijo ella explicando la situación y su decisión en salir de su país.

Empezaron a encontrar jóvenes muertos y mucha gente fue asesinada por causa de esta protesta. “A los participantes de las marchas se los llevaban detenidos, los golpeaban, y después los echaban de la cárcel y los dejaban ir sin decirles nada, uno solo relacionaba la situación política,” dijo ella. “Eran crímenes horribles que se hacían en contra de la gente que se inculpaba por apoyar a la gente de su pueblo, en contra de un dictador que quiere tener el poder y el control sobre el país, las personas y todo lo demás.”

Darling tiene miedo de poder ser deportada y detenida, así como mucho migrantes que han sido deportados a su país y han ido directo a la cárcel por huir de su país y emigrar a los Estados Unidos.  “Nosotros lo que queremos es estar seguros, y ya después regresar cuando mejore la situación política en nuestro país.” dijo ella. Ella desea mantener su ubicación en secreto por miedo a persecución de su gobierno.

 

The Faces of Immigration Project is a 40 Day photo journal series used to highlight the stories of all Immigrants. The project is meant to shed light on some of the many reasons people have for immigrating to the U.S. Statements and stories have been edited for content, clarity, and brevity and may not reflect the entirety of an Immigrant’s reasons for immigrating to the United States.

 

By Paul Ratje

Go Here To Donate To Our Cause! https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=909fac

Francisco Dario Lopez, 45, Jeuber Fernandez, 16
Faces of Immigration

Faces of Immigration Day 34 of 40

Francisco Dario Lopez, 45, and his son Jeuber Fernandez Lopez, 17, are from the town of San Nicolas in the Santa Barbara Department of Honduras. Like many others from their country, they made the decision to leave out of desire for a better life. They were given  shelter and meals at Our Lady of Purification in Dona Ana, New Mexico, as well as given assistance in arranging transportation to their family.

 

Back home, Francisco worked as a carpenter for 29 years. Despite his skills and expertise, the economy of Honduras has slumped so that he does not receive any work.

 

“It is a beautiful country. It is a beautiful environment,” he said speaking of Honduras, “but on the side of that exists the violence and insecurity.”

 

“In the middle of this situation of leaving our country, we are leaving our family, our home, which is the most important in the circle of God,” he said speaking of the difficulties faced in leaving his country. Back home remain his wife and two daughters. “But in this case, we only left them, not abandoned them.”

 

“The road from our country to this country is not easy,” he explained during their trip, they were apprehended in Villa Hermosa, Mexico for 25 days in a compound that they could not leave, then again in Mexico City for 15 more days.

 

They were eventually released, and made their way to the border in Ciudad Juarez. Once they crossed, they experienced a different kind of confinement at the hands of the United States government. “For the three days we were in migration, it was as if we were there for 20,” he spoke of the conditions in the Border Patrol facilities, “like a punishment they turn on the air, as they call them, ‘hieleras,’” a term migrants use meaning cooler to describe the holding cells of the Border Patrol.

 

After leaving Our Lady of Purification in Dona Ana, they would head to New Orleans, Louisiana, where his nephews await.

 

Francisco Dario López, 45, y su hijo Jueber Fernández López, 17, son de la ciudad de San Nicolás, Departamento de Santa Bárbara en Honduras. Como muchos otros de su país, ellos decidieron partir, por deseo de una vida mejor. A ellos les ofrecieron albergue y alimento en la Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Purificación en Doña Ana, Nuevo México, al igual que asistencia para las reservaciones de la transportación para con sus familiares.

 

En su país de origen, Francisco trabajó como Carpintero por 29 años. A Pesar de sus habilidades y su experiencia, la economía en Honduras se a desplomado, hasta el punto donde el no a podido recibir trabajo.

 

”Es un país hermoso, Es un ambiente hermoso.” dijo él hablando de Honduras, “pero a pesar de eso, existe la violencia y la inseguridad.”

 

“En medio de esta situación de dejar nuestro país, estamos dejando nuestra familia, nuestro hogar, que es lo más importante dentro del círculo de Dios,” dijo él hablando de las dificultades que tiene que enfrentar al dejar su país. Deja atrás a su esposa y a sus dos hijas. “Pero en este caso solo las dejo atrás, no las estoy abandonando,”

 

“El camino de nuestro país a este país no es fácil,” él explicó que durante su viaje, ellos fueron detenidos en Villa Hermosa, México por 25 días, en un campamento donde no se podían ir, después otra vez en la Ciudad de México por 15 días más.

 

Finalmente fueron liberados, y llegaron a la frontera de Ciudad Juárez. Al cruzar, experimentaron un encierro diferente en las manos del gobierno de los Estados Unidos. “Estuvimos en migración por tres días, pero se sintió como si fueran 20,” el hablaba de las condiciones de la detención de la patrulla fronteriza, “como castigo encendían la calefacción, por eso les llaman ‘hieleras’,” un palabra usada por los migrantes refiriéndose a las celdas de la patrulla fronteriza.

 

Después de dejar la Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Purificación en Doña Ana, se dirigen a Nueva Orleans, donde los espera sus sobrino.

 

The Faces of Immigration Project is a 40 Day photo journal series used to highlight the stories of all Immigrants. The project is meant to shed light on some of the many reasons people have for immigrating to the U.S. Statements and stories have been edited for content, clarity, and brevity and may not reflect the entirety of an Immigrant’s reasons for immigrating to the United States.

By Paul Ratje

 

Go Here To Donate To Our Cause! https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=909fac

Erduin Euceda, 29, Erduin Fabricio, 10
Faces of Immigration

Faces of Immigration Day 33 of 40

Erduin Euceda, 29, and his son Erduin Fabricio, 10, from Colon, Honduras, came to the US-Mexico border to find a better life. They spent 14 days traveling through Mexico on their own, and upon being apprehended by the Border Patrol, spent about three days in detention.

Upon being released they were taken in a large group to Our Lady of Purification in Dona Ana, New Mexico. This parish participates in a program called Project Oak Tree, which offers assistance to migrants released by ICE. The group will help them book plane tickets with their families who pay for their tickets.

In addition to economic difficulties, his locale of Colon has grown more and more dangerous with crime. It is an atmosphere which is difficult to raise children in.

In Honduras, he worked worked in construction, but there was not enough work there. He couldn’t afford to pay for basic things like sending his kids to school, and saving for the future.  He decided to make the trip to the United States, leaving behind his wife and two other kids.

His destination is Connecticut, where he must first report to the local ICE field office. If he and his son will be allowed to stay legally is yet to be determined.

 

 

Erduin Euceda, 29, y su hijo Erduin Fabricio, 10 de Colon, Honduras, llegaron a la frontera de Estados Unidos – México en busca de una vida mejor. Viajaron por México 14 días sin ayuda, y al ser detenidos por la patrulla fronteriza, estuvieron en detención migratoria por tres días.

Cuando fueron liberados, los llevaron juntamante con un grupo bastante grande a la Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Purificación en Doña Ana, Nuevo México. La parroquia participa en el proyecto “Project Oak Tree”, que ofrece asistencia a migrantes dejados en libertad por ICE. El grupo los asistirá con las reservaciones de vuelo que han pagado sus familiares para que puedan viajar.

En adición a las dificultades económicas, el estado de Colon a aumentado mas y mas en peligro a causa del crimen. Es una atmósfera muy difícil para criar a los niños.

En Honduras, trabajaba en construcción, pero no había suficiente trabajo. No le alcanzaba para comprar las cosas básicas como para mandar a sus hijos a la escuela o para ahorrar para un buen futuro.  Decidio hacer el viaje a los Estado Unidos, dejando atrás a su esposa y sus otros dos hijos.

Su destino es Connecticut, donde necesita reportarse a ICE en la oficina local. Todavía está por determinarse, si su hijo y el seran permitidos quedarse legalmente en este país.

 

 

The Faces of Immigration Project is a 40 Day photo journal series used to highlight the stories of all Immigrants. The project is meant to shed light on some of the many reasons people have for immigrating to the U.S. Statements and stories have been edited for content, clarity, and brevity and may not reflect the entirety of an Immigrant’s reasons for immigrating to the United States.

By Paul Ratje

Go Here To Donate To Our Cause! https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=909fac

Gresly Yamali Blandon Olivas, 24, Anthony Rene Juarez Blando
Faces of Immigration

Faces of Immigration Day 32 of 40

Gresly Yamali Blandon Olivas, 24, and her son Anthony Rene Juarez Blandon, 8, came from Esteli, Nicaragua to seek Asylum in the United States. They were given hospitality at Our Lady of Purification Parish in Dona Ana, New Mexico.

Gresly studied until her second year of secondary school, until she became pregnant with Anthony. She worked in Spain for a year and a half to earn money, leaving her son behind.

When she returned, Nicaragua had already descended into political turmoil, with marches and protests occurring against the government. What started out as a government crackdown on protests against changes to the country’s social security system and increased taxes, turned into an unending crackdown on dissent against the current president Daniel Ortega and the government. Protesters called for the removal of Ortega, and the response has been to silence the dissenters.

In September of 2018, she was involved in some of the protests and taken into custody to by the police along with others, “They took us and beat us,” she said describing her brief stay in the notorious prison “El Chipote,” in Managua, where many political prisoners are being held. She was taken in with a group of 8 others, some of whom were given lengthy sentences for their involvement. Luckily, she was let go, but remained in danger of reprisal by the agents of the government.

“Since that day I have had a terrible life,” she said speaking of the unrest. “We can’t wear white and blue shirts with our country’s flag because it is bad for them,” she said speaking of the government. “I decided to come because I feared they were going to kill me.”

Gresly has evidence of her beatings and her involvement in the protests. The police also confiscated her motorcycle which she rode to the protest. With this she hopes to plead her case for political asylum here in the United States

She plans to join her mother, who already lives in the United States, but she wishes to keep her location secret out of fear of her government.

To arrive at the border, she came through Guatemala and Mexico, paying her way with money she saved in Spain, without a Coyote, and crossed the border in Juarez to present herself to the border patrol.

Since the beginning of the political unrest it is estimated that over 200 people have been killed, and thousands wounded. Gresly and Anthony now have no way to return to Nicaragua, “While this government is still in existence, we cannot return because they are watching us.”

 

 

Gresly Yamali Blandon Olivas, 24, y su hijo Anthony Rene Juarez Blandon, 8, llegaron de Estelí, Nicaragua en busca de asilo político en Estado Unidos. Les dieron albergue en la Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Purificación en Doña Ana, Nuevo México.

Gresly estudio hasta el segundo año de secundaria, hasta que quedo embarazada de Anthony. Trabajo en España por un año y medio para ganar ingreso, dejando a su hijo atrás.

Cuando regresó, Nicaragua ya había ascendido en una confusión política, con marchas y protestas en contra del gobierno. Lo que comenco como una represión gubernamental con marchas en contra de cambios al sistema de seguro social del país, a los aumentos en impuestos, terminó en una represión interminable en desacuerdo con el presidente actual, Daniel Ortega y el gobierno. Los protestantes pidieron que quitaran a Ortega como presidente, y la respuesta fue que silenciaran a los que estában en desacuerdo.

En septiembre del 2018, ella tomó parte en la protesta y fue detenida por la policía, juntamente con otras personas. “Nos llevaron, y nos golpearon,” dijo ella describiendo su estancia corta en la famosa prisión “El Chipote,” en Managua, donde muchos prisioneros políticos están detenidos. Ella fue llevada en un grupo de 8 personas, algunos dándoles sentencias largas por su participación. Por suerte, ella fue liberada, pero siguió en peligro de represalia por los agentes del gobierno.

“Desde ese día, mi vida a sido terrible,” ella dijo hablando de la intranquilidad. “No podemos usar camisas blancas o azules con la bandera de nuestro país, porque para ellos es malo,” dijo ella hablando del gobierno. “Yo decidí venirme porque temía que me pudieran matar.”

Gresly tiene pruebas de participación en la protesta y que fue golpeada. La policía le confiscó su motocicleta, la cual usó para llegar a la protesta. Con esto ella espera ganar su caso para asilo político en los Estados Unidos.

Ella planea reunirse con su madre, que vive en Estados Unidos, pero desea mantener en secreto su ubicación por miedo a su gobierno.

Para llegar a la frontera tuvo que viajar por Guatemala y México, pagando su viaje con dinero que había ahorrado en España, sin un coyote, y cruzó la frontera en Juárez para presentarse por ella misma a la patrulla fronteriza.

Desde el comienzo de la intranquilidad política, se estima más de 200 personas asesinadas y miles de heridos. Gresly y Anthony ya no tienen manera de regresar a Nicaragua, “Mientras el gobierno siga existiendo, no podemos regresar, porque nos están vigilando.”

 

The Faces of Immigration Project is a 40 Day photo journal series used to highlight the stories of all Immigrants. The project is meant to shed light on some of the many reasons people have for immigrating to the U.S. Statements and stories have been edited for content, clarity, and brevity and may not reflect the entirety of an Immigrant’s reasons for immigrating to the United States.

By Paul Ratje

Go Here To Donate To Our Cause! https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=909fac

Faces of Immigration

Faces of Immigration Day 31 of 40

Brenda Marisol Xalin Sutuj, 21, her Husband Alex Anibal, 21 and son, Kevin Alexander, 1, were welcomed in Our Lady of Purification Parish in Dona Ana, New Mexico, and given hospitality the day they were released by ICE, in mid March of 2019. The young family traveled 5 days with the help of Coyotes paying about 90,000 Quetzales ($12,000) for the trip. This money was taken as a loan using her father’s house as collateral.

 

From San Martin Jilotepec, in the San Marcos department of Guatemala, Brenda grew up speaking the indigenous Kaqchikel language, but speaks Spanish fluently, and studied education at the university, where she met her husband. Alex studied in the same program she did, but couldn’t find a job in education, and ended up doing agriculture work earning 50 Quetzales per day to support his pregnant wife.

 

Brenda said that with her degree, she could earn about 2,800 Quetzales per month, which is equal to about $363. “It doesn’t suffice,“ she said explaining how the salary her father earned as a teacher was too little for her and her three siblings growing up. “My mom sold snacks in the school, and with that we were able to get by.”

 

“We all studied,” she said speaking of her siblings, “It is the best option there is in Guatemala.” However this wasn’t enough for them, earning such meager salaries, and to make it all worse, the competition for jobs is high because they are few and far.

 

“When we arrived, we felt at peace because we passed.” speaking of being taken in by the volunteers of Our Lady of Purification in Dona Ana.“Its hard because when you are in the ‘hielera’ it feels like the day won’t go by because you are locked up, and you cant see the sun or know what time it is,” she said about their three days in immigration.

 

 

Brenda Marisol Xalin Sutuj, 21, y su esposo Alex Anibal, 21, y su hijo Kelvin Alexander, 1, fueron recibidos en la Parroquia Nuestra Señora de la Purificación en Doña Ana, Nuevo México, y les dieron refugio el día que fueron liberados por ICE, a mediados de marzo del 2019. La pareja joven, viajó 5 días con la ayuda de un coyote, pagándole 90,000 quetzales ($12,000) por el viaje.

 

De San Martin Jilotepec, Departamento de San Marcos, en Guatemala, Brenda creció hablando en lenguaje indígena Kaqchikel, pero habla el español con fluidez, y estudió educación en la Universidad, donde conoció a su esposo. Alex estudió en el mismo programa que ella, pero no pudo encontrar trabajo en educación, y termino trabajando en agricultura ganando 50 quetzales por día para mantener a su esposa en cinta.

 

Brenda dijo que, con su título, ella puede ganar hasta 2,800 quetzales por mes, que es igual a $363. “No es suficiente,” ella dijo describiendo como el salario que su padre ganaba como maestro, era muy poco para ella y sus tres hermanos en su niñez. “Mi madre vendía botanas en la escuela, y con eso sobrevivíamos.”

 

“Todos nosotros estudiamos,” dijo ella hablando de sus hermanos, “Es la mejor opción que hay en Guatemala,” Sin embargo, esto no era suficiente para ellos, ganando un salario tan bajo, y para empeorar la situación, la competencia de trabajo es mucha porque los trabajos son pocos y muy retirados.

“Cuando llegamos aquí, nos sentimos en paz porque ya habíamos pasado,” hablando de los voluntarios que los recibieron en la Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Purificación. “Es difícil porque cuando estás en la ‘hielera’ sientes como si no pasara el tiempo porque estás detenido y no puedes ver el sol o saber que hora es,” dijo ella sobre los tres días que estuvo en inmigración.

 

 

The Faces of Immigration Project is a 40 Day photo journal series used to highlight the stories of all Immigrants. The project is meant to shed light on some of the many reasons people have for immigrating to the U.S. Statements and stories have been edited for content, clarity, and brevity and may not reflect the entirety of an Immigrant’s reasons for immigrating to the United States.

 

 

By Paul Ratje

Go Here To Donate To Our Cause! https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=909fac

Dionel Martinez Ortega, 48, Darwin Leonel Martinez Morales,
Faces of Immigration

Faces of Immigration Day 30 of 40

Dionel Martinez Ortega, 48, and his son Darwin Leonel Martinez Morales, 13 are from Chiquimula in Guatemala. They were taken in as part of a large group of Central American migrants at Our Lady of Purification Parish in Dona Ana, New Mexico, where they were given food and shelter and assisted with booking their travel arrangements to their families or friends.

Having worked as an agricultural worker before, he spoke of difficulties in cultivating beans and corn. He had to support a family of five on the small income of 50 Quetzales per day, only on the days when work came.

Thirteen year-old Darwin, who only has completed the second grade, wants the chance to be able to study upon arriving in their destination. He has struggled learning how to read, because there is not a chance for individual attention.

This is the second time Dionel has come to the United State. He was deported 20 years ago. This time, he hired a coyote to get him and his son to the border, paying 30,000 Quetzales or about $4,000. To get this money, he decided to put his home as collateral, and if he doesn’t succeed in making the payments, he may lose it.

Just like many other migrants, leaving his family was difficult for Dionel, “When I left, my child was only 18 months old, but when I came back he was six and a half years old,” he said. He is yet another migrant who spends long parts of their lives away from their loved ones.

 

Dionel Martínez Ortega, 48, y su hijo Darwin Leonel Martínez Morales, 13, son de Chiquimula en Guatemala. Ellos fueron parte de un grupo grande de centroamericanos recibidos por la Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Purificación en Dona Ana, Nuevo México, donde recibieron comida albergue y los ayudaron con las reservaciones para los arreglos de su viaje.

Como trabajador agricultor en un pasado, el hablo de las dificultades del cultivo de frijol y maíz. El tuvo que mantener a su familia de cinco personas en un sueldo pequeño de 50 quetzales por día, y eso solo en los días que había trabajo.

Darwin de trece años, que solo pudo terminar el segundo año, quiere la oportunidad de estudiar en cuanto lleguen a su destino. El a batallado para aprender a leer, porque no había la oportunidad de atención individual.

Esta es la segunda vez que Dionel llega a los Estado Unidos. Él ya había sido deportado hace 20 anos. Esta vez, pago servicios de un coyote para que los llevaran a su hijo y a el a la frontera, pagando 30,000 quetzales que es mas o menos $4,000.  Para conseguir el dinero, decidió poner su casa como garantía de pago, y si no logra hacer los pagos, puede perder su casa.

Así como muchos migrantes, fue difícil para Dionel dejar a su familia, “Cuando me fui, mi hijo solo tenia 18 meses de edad, y cuando regrese ya tenía seis años y medio,” dijo él. El, aun es otro migrante, que pasa mucha parte de su vida, lejos de sus seres queridos.

 

 

The Faces of Immigration Project is a 40 Day photo journal series used to highlight the stories of all Immigrants. The project is meant to shed light on some of the many reasons people have for immigrating to the U.S. Statements and stories have been edited for content, clarity, and brevity and may not reflect the entirety of an Immigrant’s reasons for immigrating to the United States.

By Paul Ratje

Go Here To Donate To Our Cause! https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=909fac

Antonia Goodman, 77, Melanie Goodman, 48
Faces of Immigration

Faces of Immigration Day 29 of 40

 

Antonia Goodman, 77, from Italy, and her daughter Melanie Goodman, 48, are pictured in their Mesilla home. Melanie grew up both in Italy and the United States.

Born and raised in Bologna, Italy, Antonia, met her American husband there and married in 1969. They came to New York in 1971, but ended up moving to Hatch, New Mexico in 1975. Her husband, a physician of internal medicine, had the choice of working in various rural communities in need of doctors with the National Health Service Core.

The warm weather of Hatch is what made them decide to settle in New Mexico. It was a big adjustment being in a place so remote compared to her upbringing in urban environments, “I said, ‘where are you taking me, to the moon?’”

In 1985, her husband sadly passed away in a car accident, and Antonia returned to Italy with her two daughters. However, in 1989, the sunny skies of New Mexico beckoned Antonia to return to the United States.

“The only place I wanted to come back was Mesilla, New Mexico,” she said about her decision to move back, “In a way I wanted to come for my independence, you know?” she explained. “That’s why I came to New Mexico.”

In the 1970’s, New Mexico was still quite undeveloped in comparison to other parts of the country. “When I left from Florence to New Mexico, I put in my trunk 25 liters of oil!” she said speaking of olive oil, which she couldn’t find anywhere in rural New Mexico, “I need to get oil, at least to get re-accustomed to the United States.” For Antonia, this was the biggest problem she had adjusting to the United States. As an avid Italian cook, she couldn’t acquire ingredients for her favorite recipes.

When Antonia came to the United States, she said she never felt discriminated against because of her nationality, just that many people were ignorant about the true nature of Italy.  She told them where she was from, “I said Italy, and the first thing they said was, ‘Mafia.”

“Remember I’m blonde, blue eyed and I’m white.” she said explaining how she never experienced racism, “ That makes a big difference when you come to the United States. I had it much easier, than probably if I was dark.”

Today’s current events are painful for her to witness, seeing children separated from their parents and asylum seekers made to wait in line at the border. “I think we should never treat people like that,” Antonia spoke of the immigration situation on the border, “I think they should be coming legally, but they should be welcome, and not making people wait 10 years before they have the possibility to be legal here.”

“I love this country, I want to live here, but I see when I came here in the 70s, it was different,” she explained about her views. “If I had to come to the United States now, I would not come.”

“What goes around comes around,” she warned, “We think we are so superior to everybody,” speaking of the current state of the country.

 

Antonia Goodman, 77, es de Italia, y su hija Melanie Goodman, 48, están fotografiadas en su casa en Mesilla. Melanie creció en Italia al igual que en los Estados Unidos.

Nacida y criada en Bologna, Italia, Antonia, conoció a su marido americano en Italia en 1969. Llegaron a Nueva York en 1971, pero terminaron mudándose a Hatch, Nuevo México en 1975. Su esposo, médico de medicina interna, tuvo la opción de trabajar en varias comunidades rurales por la necesidad de doctores con el Cuerpo de Servicios de Salud Nacional.

El clima cálido de Hatch, es lo que los decidió establecerse en Nuevo México. Fue un gran ajuste estando en un lugar remoto comparado con su crianza en un ambiente urbano, “Yo me dije, ¿a dónde me llevas a la luna?”

En 1985, su esposo tristemente falleció en un accidente automovilístico, y Antonia regresa a Italia con sus dos hijas. Sin embargo, en 1989, los cielos asoleados de Nuevo México, atraen a Antonia a regresar a los Estado Unidos.

“El único lugar donde quería regresar era a Mesilla, Nuevo México,” dijo ella sobre su decisión de volver, “En parte quería regresar por mi independencia, ¿tú sabes?” ella explicó. “Es por eso que regrese a Nuevo México.”

En los años 1970, Nuevo México todavía estaba bastante sin desarrollar en comparación a otras partes del país. “Cuando yo me mudo de Florencia a Nuevo México, ¡llene mí cajuela con 25 litros de aceite!” dijo ella refiriéndose al aceite de olivo, que no pudo encontrar en ningún lugar en el Nuevo México rural, “Yo necesito aceite, al menos para re acostumbrarme a los Estados Unidos.” Para Antonia, este era el mayor problema para poderse ajustar a los Estados Unidos.  Como una apasionada cocinera italiana, no podía conseguir los ingredientes para sus recetas favoritas.

Cuando Antonia llegó a los Estados Unidos, dice que nunca se había sentido tan discriminada por su nacionalidad, pero era solo que mucha gente era ignorante sobre la verdadera naturaleza de Italia. Les decía de dónde era ella, “Yo decía Italia, y lo primero que decían era, ‘Mafia.”

“Recuerda, soy rubia, ojos azules, y soy blanca.” dijo ella explicando como ella nunca experimentó el racismo, “Eso hace mucha diferencia cuando llegas a los Estados Unidos. Yo la tuve mucho más fácil que, si fuera morena,”

Los acontecimientos actuales de hoy en día, es doloroso para ella presenciar, ver niños separados de sus padres y los solicitantes de asilo que tienen que esperar en la frontera. “Yo pienso que nunca debemos de tratar a las personas de esa manera,” Antonia habló de la situación migratoria en la frontera, “Yo creo que, si deben entrar legalmente, pero deben ser bienvenidos, y no hacerlos esperar 10 años antes de tener una posibilidad de estar legalmente aquí.”

“Yo amo este país, yo quiero vivir aquí, pero veo cuando yo llegue en los años 70’s, las cosas eran diferentes,” ella explicó sobre su punto de vista. “Si yo tuviera que venir a los Estados Unidos ahora, yo no vendría.”

“Lo que siembra, se cosecha,” ella alertó, “Pensamos que somos tan superiores a todos,” hablando del estado actual de este país.

 

The Faces of Immigration Project is a 40 Day photo journal series used to highlight the stories of all Immigrants. The project is meant to shed light on some of the many reasons people have for immigrating to the U.S. Statements and stories have been edited for content, clarity, and brevity and may not reflect the entirety of an Immigrant’s reasons for immigrating to the United States.

By Paul Ratje

 

 

 

Go Here To Donate To Our Cause! https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=909fac