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Quest for Safety Pushes Kids Out of Central America

July 09, 2014 (1 min read)

Fifteen-year-old Saúl Martínez says he walked, rode small buses, hid in houses with other immigrants and endured a long haul in a dark, steamy trailer, crossing international borders to flee the dangers of an urban area in El Salvador and reach the arms of his mother and sisters on Long Island.  All he knew two months ago when he left Colonia Belén with the hope of joining his family in Brentwood, he said, was that he had to get away from maras, criminal gangs terrorizing his neighborhood and looking to recruit boys.  "I didn't want to be involved in that bad deal," Martínez said in Spanish. "If I don't want to join them, they kill me. And if I join them, I get killed, too." - Victor Manuel Ramos, July 7, 2014.