An article in THE RECORD on Monday, July 18, 2014, describes the attempt of a 13 year old from Guatemala to get to her father in New Jersey. (See http://www.northjersey.com/news/one-teen-s-desperate-bid-to-reach-north-jersey-from-guatemala-1.1058078)
Monsy Alvarado, a staff writer who writes frequently about immigration and other issues in the Hispanic community, tells how the child begged her parents to let her try to come. They finally agreed to let her make the trip with a 16-year-old male cousin, paying more than $5,700 for assistance in attempting the dangerous journey–a trip the father had made just four years ago himself, across the deserts of Arizona.
Both the child and the cousin were apprehended at the border and she is now in a federal facility in Arizona. Her father is waiting to hear whether she will be allowed to come to New Jersey to be with him. He is anxious about her safety and is doing everything possible to find a way to keep her safe. Both he and her mother know that any solution is only temporary; she will have to appear in court and plead her case. Her parents have sketchy information from her about some things that happened to her in Guatemala that she is unwilling to talk about.
This incident is very similar to others that have happened over the years in this area. Last year a teenager managed to get to her father in Bergen County, where she was able to stay with a cousin for a few weeks. However, eventually the father and her mother in Guatemala paid $500 for the airfare to send her home.
Alvarado’s article includes a useful map showing the various routes migrants from Guatemala are using to try to get to the U.S. Although this migration has been going on for generations, there is general agreement that the conditions of travel are worse than ever, and the lack of knowledge and empathy among the U.S. population is greater. A woman who often claims to speak for the anti-immigrant community is quoted as saying “maybe millions or tens of millions of people” will be coming to our country illegally!
Concerned citizens who wish to receive regular updates on the actual facts of the situation, and things we can do to help, are advised to contact First Friends of NJ and NY for up-to-the-minute information. www.firstfriendsnjny.org