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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 10. Jaime Retamales

Extract

Retamales volunteered as legal assistant and teacher in an immigrant shelter and high security center in Texas. He taught Jeremias for 6 months in 2015. When Jeremias attempted to cross the U.S. border, he was caught by the border patrol. He was first sent to the detention center for adults and then to a facility for unaccompanied children. Jeremias always remembered his country and imagined himself freely walking the streets, enjoying the beach and the parks. His experience in the United States was inside of the walls of the detention center, and walls he saw every day. Unfortunately, one of his creative talents became his condemnation.

Jeremías es un muchacho hondureño, según la lista de clientes es un adolescente de dieciséis años, aunque, parece tener unos veinte. Seguramente, debió madurar temprano para ayudar a su familia como la mayoría de los niños que atendemos en este centro. Al igual que muchos habitantes de Honduras, en sus venas corre sangre africana que se hace evidente en su aspecto físico. Hace dos años que enseño en este lugar, todos los días llegan niños como Jeremías ←169 | 170→a los Estados Unidos con la esperanza de trabajar y enviar dinero para que sus madres no se maten buscando alimentos para sus hermanas o hermanos.

A Jeremías lo agarraron hace un mes, se entregó a la migra porque estaba perdido, sin agua, el coyote lo abandon...

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