14-year-old Sylvia Marroquin, a refugee from El Salvador, has been on a journey that’s not over yet.
“It all started in March of 2013 when they killed my math teacher. I told my dad and he grew worried and together, my parents made the decision to bring me to the United States,” said Marroquin.
A month later, her parents, who were already in Dallas, paid a coyote to bring Sylvia from El Salvador to Texas. Instead of the American dream, the trip became a nightmare.
“It was a really tough route. In Guatemala, I had to separate from the group and continue along with the coyote. It was hard because there was little water, little food and you have to walk,” she said. “The most difficult part was the attacks by the coyote.”
Once they reached the border, the coyote pushed her in front of a border patrol car. It became the push that saved her life.
“I want to thank the Border Patrol agents because I felt very safe. They protected me.”
When the Isenberg Center for Immigration Empowerment in Dallas got word of her story, they kicked into action.
“We were in this office all balling. We could not believe what this child was telling us,” said Ralph Isenberg, Founder of the Isenberg Center for Immigration Empowerment.
Now the center is working to get Sylvia’s 11-year-old brother out of El Salvador too. They say they have a green light from El Salvador but not from the U.S.
This is just one of the stories of kids fleeing violence in their home countries. It’s enough to fill a book, a book that’s impossible to judge by its cover.