16 year-old Miguel has been in a shelter in the United States since October 19, 2017. Over a year ago! Miguel and his father Domingo left their village in October 2017 hoping to arrive to the United States and start a new life here. They traveled for 9 days before they arrived to the southern border. As soon as they crossed the border, they turned themselves in. They spent 2 days in the ice box before being separated.
When Domingo and Miguel were apprehended, Domingo asked the ICE officer for help and tried to explain his situation in Guatemala. The officer asked him to stop talking and replied that he and his son were going to be deported separately. Miguel left his dad’s side crying. His dad was heartbroken as well because he had no idea where his child was taken or when he was going to see him again. Two days later, Domingo was moved to a different detention center and 20 days after being separated from Miguel, they were finally able to speak on the phone. His son told him that he was ok and said that he was speaking to his mom twice a week. This make Domingo feel better, but this was the only time he was allowed to speak with Miguel during the time he was detained
This was Domingo’s second attempt to enter the United States. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail. Then he was taken to another detention center where he spent an additional 30 days in detention. Finally, he was deported to Guatemala. He wanted a phone call with his child before being deported but no one helped him. He desperately tried to convey that he wanted to stay with his child and to be deported with him but he was told that he could not stay. He was told that if he had a family member who could sponsor his child, Miguel could stay. Once Domingo arrived in Guatemala, he started looking for a sponsor. This is not an easy task considering that most of the possible sponsors are undocumented and are afraid of deportation after providing all their information to the U.S. Government. In addition, the requirements sponsors must fulfill are very strict. At this point, Miguel is trying to be released with a 3rd sponsor and he is hoping this time it will work out.
Mr. de Anda visited Miguel a week ago and connected Miguel with his family by video call. This was the first time Miguel saw his family since he has been in detention and it was the first time his parents and siblings saw him in a year as well. Miguel showed signs of sadness when he saw his family but his father encouraged him to stay positive. Deep inside his parents felt sad by the tangible reminder that a year has passed by; their son has changed and he is becoming a young man.
Miguel and his family speak Quiche, a Mayan Language from Guatemala. Miguel’s mother speaks Quiche only. Miguel has a 2 year old brother and a 17 year old sister.
Miguel finished 6th grade and his dream was to continue studying but he did not have this opportunity in Guatemala. This is one of the reasons his dad decided to take the trip to the United States with him. Their plan was for Domingo to work while Miguel continued with his studies.
Domingo borrowed $6,000 for the trip from a neighbor. He is charged 10% interest a month. He gave the person the deed of a small lot of land which he most likely will lose because he is not paying back any of the money borrowed. He thinks the plot of land will not be enough to repay the debt. So, after taking a very dangerous trip through Mexico to arrive to the United States, being separated from his son, and Miguel enduring an entire year of detention in a shelter, the situation of this family is worse than it was before they embarked on this trip.
Domingo wishes for Miguel to be placed at the home of his uncle, Angel, who lives in Oregon. We are making arrangements to have Miguel placed in the care of his uncle. We will litigate Miguel's asylum claim, as his father wishes for him to have the opportunities that American children enjoy. Miguel will become a legal resident and eventually an American citizen. He is held at a facility outside of Houston. We are asking for your help and generosity to raise the $7,250 needed to cover travel expenses for our team to visit and consult with Miguel, visit his uncle in Oregon, and consult with his parents in Guatemala.