First the Fence, Then the System

What happens to children who enter the U.S. illegally and alone after they’re caught by the Border Patrol:

“If you’re caught, say you’re an adult so they don’t send you back.

“Say you’re a kid so they don’t send you back. If you say you’re a kid, they won’t take you to prison.

“Practice your Mexican accent. They’ll drop you off in Mexico. It’ll be easier to get back in.

“Jordi looked young, but he insisted he was nineteen. As a result, he was transferred to an adult detention facility in Corpus Christi. ‘I couldn’t walk for two months after the accident. I got a cast and a wheelchair for two weeks. I was only in the hospital for like five hours, then I went to the prison.’ At Corpus Christi, he was given an orange uniform and locked in solitary confinement. ‘I really don’t know why,’ Jordi said, laughing. ‘Maybe because I didn’t know anyone—​but I really don’t know.’ After ten days alone, he was moved into a crowded cell, then sent to a nurse to inspect the progress of his leg. She seemed suspicious of his age, studied his face. He insisted he was nineteen. But with each visit, she asked him again, until finally, after about three weeks, Jordi confessed he was actually fifteen.”

Source: VQR
Published: Jul 8, 2013
Length: 34 minutes (8,623 words)
Read the story