This past summer I volunteered at Casa Alitas, a small homeless shelter here in Tucson. Being fluent in Spanish allowed me to listen to the weary refugees, newly released from the detention cages at the border. Their stories are spine chilling. Here are some excerpts from my notes.

Angelina: "There are many children in la hielera, (the nickname for the extremely refrigerated holding areas used by Border Patrol). Those kids are alone, separated from their family. I heard some very bad things. Some kids who cried too much got little cups of something very sweet, I don’t know what it was. Probably a sedative drug.”

Elena: "My 15-year-old daughter was taken from me at the border. I don’t know how to find her."

Laura: "Thugs kidnapped me and my daughters at the border. They were going to sell us to the U.S. cartel. They want sex and body parts. Thank God a friend paid our ransom."

Susana Manzana


Disclaimer: As submitted to the Arizona Daily Star.


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