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Serving Refugee Children

Listening to Stories of Detention in the USA

Edited By Montse Feu and Amanda Venta

Serving Refugee Children shows the struggles and traumatic experiences that unaccompanied and undocumented children undergo they seek safety in the United States and instead find imprisonment, separation from their families, and immigration enforcement raids. Current legislation and bureaucracy limit publication of first-person narratives from unaccompanied and undocumented children, but service providers and grassroots activists authoring the pieces in this collection bear witness to the children’s brave human spirits in their search for safety in the United States. Through the power of storytelling, Serving Refugee Children exposes the many hardships unaccompanied and undocumented children endure, including current detention center conditions. No child should have to live the persecution suffered by children featured in these stories, nor should they have to embark upon perilous journeys across Latin America or be subjected to the difficult immigration court process unaided. Researchers and readers who believe that the emotional bonding of storytelling can humanize discussions and lead to immigration policies that foster a culture of engagement and interconnectedness will be interested in this volume.

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Chapter 5. Yessica Colin


While conducting research at a school in Texas that admitted and helped immigrants, Colin listened to Camila’s story. Being an immigrant herself, Colin readily understood what it is like to be a young woman who seeks to provide for herself and her family. Nicaraguan Camila decided to determine her own fate and embarking in a journey full of uncertainty, nostalgia, and strength.

Camila was destined to misery, or at least so she thought. A sudden burst into her room interrupted the million thoughts whirling around her head. It was Rafa, Charly’s friend from the neighborhood. With a distraught face he said,

“Camila, Charly fell from his bike and is bleeding bad!” Alarmed, Camila quickly wiped her tears and ran along with Rafa to help Charly.

“Ouch!” said Charly in pain as his sister wiped the blood from his left hand once they were inside the house.

“It’ll be ok,” Camila assured her brother.←113 | 114→

“At least you didn’t smash into Mrs. Lupita’s stand,” laughed Rafa. Mrs. Lupita ran an aguas frescas stand on the corner—down the street from where Charly and Camila lived.

“Yeah, to avoid crashing into her stand I landed in a pothole and flew into rocks and now I am paying for it!” blurted Charly, upset.

“I better get going. I’ll see you around, Charly” said Rafa. Both Camila and Charly waved goodbye and were left in silence. It was a...

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