Crossing the Border as an Unaccompanied Child

Hernan is 14, the eldest of five children in a family from Veracruz, one of Mexico’s poorest states. His mom runs the house, his dad works the farm, but “sometimes the crops just don’t grow,” he says. His parents struggle to buy enough rice and beans to sustain the family day to day. “We don’t have an economy,” he says. “We barely have anything.”

That’s why Hernan made his plan: He would travel 1,500 miles north and cross the United States border, where he planned to meet his uncle, who works for a restaurant in North Carolina. The hope was to get a job, earn some money, and send it back home. “It was my idea,” Hernan says. “I wanted to come.”

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