The following are a few examples of the lives of youth who are served by the YMCA Homes. These youth try to enter the U.S. looking for better economic opportunities and/or to join parents, siblings and relatives. Many end up going through horrific border crossing experiences filled with exploitation and tragedy. Most arrive at the YMCA Homes mentally and physically traumatized.Elizandro, 17 years
From Meztitlan, Hidalgo
It was my mother who talked to a friend about my trip to the Metztitlan, There were about 18 people from my town, but in the bus there was a total of 50 people; the rest were from other little towns in my region. We arrived to Sonora to a hotel that looked more like a house. As soon as we got there they split the group and I was in a group of 20 people and 2 smugglers.
We walked for one night and one day; an 18 wheeler picked us up on the side of the road. One of the smugglers had a cellular phone and when we were in the top of the hills he made a call. We hid in the house of the smugglers for about 8 days, after that they crossed to the U.S. and took all the people there and sent groups of people. I was in a group of 18 and they sent us directly to Detroit in vans.
I got to Rafael’s brother’s home. Rafael is my friend in Meztitlan, and he has been in the U.S. for about 6 years. The next day he took me to get my false ID and my social security card; if you want to work you need those immediately. He lent me the money and after I found a job I paid him back. I was able to find a job in a factory that builds vehicle parts. In that factory they hire a lot of migrants, they know that the documents we show are fake, but they support the migrants. The money was not bad, I worked there for a while and after that I moved to a tomato packing factory, since I was saving some money I was able to buy a few things, my bed, stereo, television, clothes and shoes, every ting seemed to be ok.
One day after work some guys offered me a ride home, it was three of us in total, as soon as we got off work we got stopped by the cops, because there was a problem with the vehicle. They kept us in jail for four days. When we were there the Border Patrol showed up to pick us up. The police called them; I was the youngest of the 3 of us. They sent me to the Southwest Key house in the city of Concord, California. The other guys were deported immediately. I was there from March 22 until May 22, I was learning some math and English while I was there. They also took us a few times to the Beach, and got some guitar lessons; they also gave us a dollar per day. While I was there I was told that the Mexican Consulate would give me $250.00 for my ticket to go back home after I was deported. On May 19 I went to court and someone asked if I had the money to go back to my town, a Social Worker intervened and said that the Mexican Immigration would be responsible for that expense, and she didn’t even let me talk. Now I’m in Mexico, without a penny to go home, I’ve lost all my belongings that I paid for, I even left two cheques pending to cash at my work before I was detained and sent to the Southwest Key program. I called some of my friends and ask them to collect those cheques, and they said that the company did not want to give them my pending payment. I decided to call the company and they send me a fax that showed that my money was already paid to some of my “friends” it was almost one thousand dollars, I was robbed. They also took my belongings from my room, when I left home I started a small construction in my parent’s back yard and now I only have $50 that I saved while I was in Southwest Key. But is not important, I know how to work in the construction field and I know I will finish my own room, now I need to find a job as soon I get to my little town. To be honest I am very sad about what happened to me, but I know that I will get to see my family soon, very soon.
YMCA HOMES FOR MIGRANT YOUTH
Annual Report 2008, Mexican Federation of YMCAs