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Story Publication logo May 21, 2019

Children, the 'Passport' of Migrants to Achieve the American Dream (Spanish)

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Border fence between United States and Mexico in Nogales, Arizona. Image by Shutterstock. United States, 2017.
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Thousands of Central American parents continue to arrive at the southern border with their children...

Primary school students from Bulej celebrate the carnival on March 5, in front of the church of San Mateo Apóstol. Image by Simone Dalmasso. Guatemala , 2019
Primary school students from Bulej celebrate the carnival on March 5, in front of the church of San Mateo Apóstol. Image by Simone Dalmasso. Guatemala , 2019

A class of third grade children is preparing to go to recess. Among the bustle there is an empty bench on one side of the wall. The boy who used to sit there is gone, he left for the United States with his dad. In another classroom, three girls work on the last details of their carnival costumes. The rest of his classmates from the third year of high school, little by little have disappeared; some have gone to the United States, others simply have not been able to continue studying. In a neighboring village, a teacher is engaged in gardening as a way to empower young women. The community center he works for had to close his basic education program due to the lack of students.

Since October 2016, more than 800,000 unaccompanied minors and parents traveling with their children have turned themselves in to United States Border Patrol agents. Not counting the more than 114 thousand who have waited their turn in border ports in the last two years. 40% are Guatemalan, representing the largest group.

For families of Bulej and Yalambojoch, indigenous people near the border with Mexico, leaving for the United States has been their last option, driven by a cycle of debts that only creates more migration. It is still early to know what the long-term consequences of this new migration trend may be, some of these people are losing their future as the youngest embark on the journey north.

The desk of Baldemar Lucas García Alonzo looks empty at the back of the classroom of the primary school of Bulej. The boy undertook the trip to the United States with his father, the previous week. Image by Simone Dalmasso. Guatemala, 2019.
The desk of Baldemar Lucas García Alonzo looks empty at the back of the classroom of the primary school of Bulej. The boy undertook the trip to the United States with his father, the previous week. Image by Simone Dalmasso. Guatemala, 2019.

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