By: Julia Blumberg
(SOUNDBITE OF ADRIÁN’S VOICE)
JULIA BLUMBERG, HOST: You are listening to the voice of Adrián, a young migrant from Central America. I am talking to him via whatsapp. He has a high school degree in sustainable development.
(ADRIÁN): After that, I went to take the exam of The [national] Autonomous University of Honduras, the academic aptitude test. Then, I wanted to study for a career in pedagogy (education/teaching). and I passed the admission exam, I was ready to start it, but for personal reasons, I left my country and could no longer study.
(BLUMBERG): Adrian left his family, his dreams, his homeland Honduras because since a child he has suffered from the situation and problems of people with bad intentions.
(ADRIÁN): As a Honduran, I do not trust the security of my country because people working at the investigation department I went to did not listen to me when I reported about a certain situation. I hope that this situation will improve and that the protection and investigation protocols will be better for people who come to the country’s security departments.
(BLUMBERG): He came to the United States to escape difficult problems that individuals are exposed to, like the security of the country and entities of organized crime and lack of opportunity. On the way to the U.S., he was the victim of organized crime and problems with the state security situation in Guatemala and Mexico. Adrián took several buses and taxis to reach the border between Mexico and the United States. When he reached the San Luis, Colorado border in Arizona, he was captured by an officer.
(ADRIÁN): I arrived at the border area of San Luis, Colorado, Arizona, where I approached the border and I was on video surveillance, and an officer came out to see me because I was crossing unlawfully. The officer then went to his vehicle and said to me, “Stop, come back here.” Then, he made me follow all the security and protection protocols. He said to me, remove the laces from your shoes, your belt, and give me your phone.
(BLUMBERG): The officer took Adrian to an office to take his biometric data to learn more about him, such as his name and country of origin. It’s all part of the process.
(ADRIÁN): But, everything got tense in the office because there were some officers, Chicanos – people who speak Spanish and wanted to force me to sign a document. I said I would not sign any document. Then, one of the officers said to me: you prick Honduran, you’re not in your country here, so do what I tell you. Then, I said to him: You’re being disrespectful and I do not deserve to be talked to like that. Another officer said, “Leave him alone and don’t bother him.”
(BLUMBERG): After, Adrian spent 17 months in a detention center in Arizona. He had time to reflect on the trials and tribulations of his journey, leaving his family behind, and thinking whether he will stay in the U.S. or be deported back to Honduras.
(ADRIÁN): Well, there I got sick with COVID-19 but I was able to overcome the severe symptoms from the disease. They did not have the necessary medical attention because they were not prepared for the pandemic.
(BLUMBERG): He had the help of organizations like Keep Tucson Together, Salvavision, and Project Florence when he was held in detention in person and via phone when COVID began.
(ADRIÁN): It was emotionally difficult for me. I was stressed and depressed. I am thankful to all the support I had from Arizona entities and organizations. I was able to count on their help through their letters and correspondences. They were a great support for me.
(BLUMBERG): One person in particular wrote letters to Adrian and helped him a lot in overcoming fear, stress and depression.
(ADRIÁN): She started to motivate me, to send me correspondence, to send me postal mail. And she began to tell me not to give up, be strong, be patient, you’re going to achieve your dreams, you can do it. I began to motivate myself in spite of my difficult situation where I said in certain points I no longer want to live, I no longer want to exist, life has no value.
(BLUMBERG): That person also sent him books on personal motivation that helped Adrián a lot.
(ADRIÁN): I read them [the books]. That person today is like part of my family even though we are not related by blood.
(BLUMBERG): This friend helped him become confident in himself while being held in detention. Adrián is now free and motivated to learn and grow, and confident that he will be able to achieve his dreams.
(ADRIÁN): Today I feel a little limited with where I am at now, but I hope that doors will be opened in the future. Studying high school in my country cost me a little bit of money because of the economic situation. I was able to overcome those challenges, I was able to finish high school.
(BLUMBERG): This is Adrian’s story. He wants to share his experience to contribute to knowledge about Central American immigrants.
(ADRIÁN): I want to share that we are not bad. We do not come to the United States to cause chaos. I believe that we immigrants must also be united and break from these walls of disunity in order to be better.
(BLUMBERG): Adrian’s story reflects the experience of many migrants at the border. According to the Department of Homeland Security, as of March 29, 2022, 7,101 migrants cross the border each day.