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Nazario: 'We Would Be Their Executioner' By Deporting Kids

July 09, 2014 (1 min read)

A Pulitzer Prize winning author who followed the treacherous trip of a young Honduran boy to the United States said many of the children crossing the border today are refugees and should be treated as such.  Sonia Nazario, who won the Pulitzer for a 2002 L.A. Times piece which eventually became the book "Enrique’s Journey," retraced the trek from Honduras through Mexico of the young boy who, without a dollar to his name, spent months on the tops of freight trains on a quest to find his mother in the U.S.  Having personally — physically — held on to the sides and tops of seven different freight trains in an effort to get a sense of what Enrique and other immigrant children endured, Nazario knows the dangers firsthand.  A good portion of the drug trade has shifted to Central America and is to blame for the high level of violence, Nazario said.  Children are used as “foot soldiers” for the cartels who give them an ultimatum to either start using and selling drugs or get killed, she said.  Nazario said the choice many of these children face is: “Do I stay and work with the cartels … or do I flee and save my life?”  And people cannot turn to the police, because a majority of cops are corrupt and will tip off the cartels, securing certain death for the children — leaving them with few options.  Nazario believes the U.S. government was caught flat-footed on the issue because they weren't paying enough attention the outbreak of corruption in Central American countries.  "Our government has been caught once again unprepared," without facilities available to accommodate the wave of children, she said. Now, officials are stuck expediting the deportation of as many undocumented immigrants as possible, which Nazario called “inhumane.”  “We would be their executioner by sending them back,” she said." - Miguel Almaguer, Elisha Fieldstadt, July 6, 2014.