Try walking 1658 miles in my shoes

I have two brown shoes. I wish I could just throw them away; they’re full of dirt, sweat, and blood. But I can’t throw them away; I have walked 1,658 miles to be safe and to make a possible living future for my family and community. The shoes look like two big banana boats with the rubber splitting and rubbing off with every step I take. Getting through Guatemala was facile, getting through la Frontera is where the risks are higher and a wrong choice can lead you back to where I started.

There’s about 68,000 unaccompanied Central American Children detained at the border without the support of close family members. It takes two months, $8,000 borrowed money at high interest rates, and risky business at a young age to cross the border without knowing the life risks. Could I compare my life to these Central American refugees? Absolutely not.

When I was younger, I’d spend days in the local public library, reading books about historical events and characters that have endured great pain and struggles like Harriet Tubman and Elie Wiesel. Tubman was born a slave that guided other slaves to freedom with the help from the stars and astrological methods.

Wiesel was born a Jew and grew up in the Concentration Camps. He survived the Holocaust; he accomplished to write the memoir, Night. He recently passed this year, July 2, 2016. Both characters had struggled and persevered to write incredible astonishing stories that inspired me to write the stories of the unaccompanied Central American Children.

The reason I’m writing and have been speaking about these Central American Children because I don’t want them to be forgotten. They’re a close connection to my extended familia and community. As I reside in Colorado, Lakewood has agreed to shelter only 1,000 Children from Central America. U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Arvada, “These kids are coming from a place of desperation, and to give them accommodation and a measure of comfort is the right thing to do,” he said. Also, Mayor Michael Hancock stated in the Denver Post that “In Denver, we care about kids,” explaining the decision to apply for a three-year Grant from the Federal Office of Refugee Resettlement.[1] I’m grateful that the Lakewood Community welcomed 1,000 Central American Children, however we can definitely do so much more.

I learned a lot from El Salvador with its on-going political programs, gangs, violence, and poverty. What are peoples’ options when their country isn’t assessing their basic human needs? They flee. They are now labeled as a refugee.

Refugees defined under the U.S. law, is someone who demonstrates that they were persecuted or fear persecution due to race religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group is not firmly resettled in another country; is admissible to U.S. Unfortunately, in many common media outlets, refugees, such as the Salvadoran children, are mislabeled as migrants or immigrants. These children embark a long, dangerous journey of 2000 miles to seek asylum from persecution in their home country. In their home countries they lack of the establishment of a Department of Human Services, local leadership and governance, poor working conditions (i.e. Child work exploitation), and low wages.

At this point more than 82,000 kids are flooding at the border traveling alone. Many are fleeing gang violence, persecution, hunger, and poverty. To these kids a normal life is their dream and they followed 1,658 miles of road to get to it. [2]

The U.S. has a constant reputation for its humanitarian efforts and exportation interests. The U.S. has exported more than 29.5 billion dollars to the Central American countries, which defines a ‘developing world’ under the CAFTA agreement. [3]The CAFTA agreement was signed on August 5, 2006 developed by President George Bush Trade Administration to help expand the “duty free” efforts of trade markets agreements between Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic) and the U.S. When duty free efforts are implied into the system of trade-offs exportations and importations companies can deal the way they want to on their own agenda.

The agreement was the most controversial that it was known to have made lawmakers uncomfortable due to the facts of working conditions and exploitation of Central American working class people. The U.S. utilities Central American countries for their exportations interests, duty free, which lacks to help the same countries in humanitarian efforts.

The influx of refugees such as the Salvadoran Children should not, then, surprise us, given the lack of humanitarian aid to a country in crisis. We are very fortunate that Colorado opened its hands to help the Central American children to help them seek asylum, but we owe these children, and the Central American countries, much more.

Of those 1,000 Children there’s a screening process to help those children be relocated with close family members in the U.S. That screening process has various court appointments and several steps to bring their families together.

It’s amazing how far these children have come and when you look into their eyes, they’re adults. The look in their eyes has something to do about “La Bestia.” [4]El tren de la muerte (train of death), where Central Americanos ride a train throughout Central America and drops them off on the border. This journey is extremely dangerous and takes many dangers and negotiations to keep themselves alive on the train.

What the U.S. is currently doing is extending time on visas that will help other Central Americanos comply with regulatory Naturalization processes. This helps any former spouse, family member that is applying for citizenship- Working visa to stay a longer period in the U.S. during the Visa Process.

What the U.S. really owes these Central American Children is a chance at life, liberty, and happiness since the U.S. is in close ties with exportations. About $108 Billion dollars from goods and exportations from Central America, including exploration of child labor of the expense of their work.

In the Federal courts, I propose they help serve refugees who are classified from developing countries. I urge them to be a protected class and under the constitution of the Refugee status.

Also under the Humanitarian bill to be passed; which is about to be passed, if an unaccompanied child is found, the U.S. will then connect the child to the closest family member to help the child seek asylum. The child will not be deported. Within three years the child has the opportunity to apply for a temporary visa. The conditions and steps are to be made at low cost, accessible to the community, and well translated. In local communities, more faculties should be open to take in 4,000 more refugees per state.

I ask you with an open heart to sign this petition to explain to Congress that the unaccompanied Central American children being detained should be given a chance to positive and safe future. ~Here’s the Link ~

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Here are some of the women that help provide food and water to the Central Americanos riding La Bestia.

Taking a second look at my worn-out brown shoes with the rubber falling apart before my eyes, I decided to keep my shoes. I’ve ingrained the souls of my feet to the unaccompanied children of Central American who deserve a chance at life.

[1] Aguilar, John. “Up to 1,000 Immigrant Children to Be Temporarily Housed in Lakewood, Colorado.” The Denver Post. N.p., 30 Dec. 2015. Web. 05 Aug. 2016.

[2] Wiltz, Teresa. “Q&A: Unaccompanied Children from Central America, One Year Later.” Q&A: Unaccompanied Children from Central America, One Year Later. The Pew Charitable Trusts, 24 Aug. 2015. Web. 05 Aug. 2016.

[3] “Central America-Dominican Republic-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).” Export.gov. N.p., 16 June 11. Web. 06 Aug. 2016. What is CAFTA

[4] Dominguez Villegas, Rodrigo. “Central American Migrants and.” Migrationpolicy.org. N.p., 10 Sept. 2014. Web. 06 Aug. 2016.

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