by Brenda Alvarez, this article originally appeared on NEAToday.org.
Nearly 1,500 miles separate Honduras and Texas—a little more than three hours by plane, and 40 hours by car. For 14-year-old Manolo (his name has been changed to protect his identity), the journey took three weeks—by foot, bus, and train—and was made possible after his family paid a coyote, someone who illegally helps migrants make the treacherous journey north.
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Manolo was just one of many Central American kids who made the trek north in 2011. U.S. Border Patrol data indicates that more than 16,000 unaccompanied minors from there, Mexico, and other countries were detained at the U.S.-Mexico border that year. The dramatic number of children trying to cross the Southwestern border escalates yearly. In 2013, more than 38,000 children were apprehended.
By September 2014, more than 68,000 unaccompanied minors had been detained, and the U.S. faced a humanitarian crisis. Three quarters of the children were from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Many of them were escaping high poverty and unspeakable violence: rape, murder, torture, extortion, and forced gang recruitment. For others, like Manolo, the trek was made out of a desire to reunite with family after a decade of separation.
Read the complete article at NEAToday.org.