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November 16, 2018

After Mario José Perez-Suazo refused the Nicaraguan paramilitary’s request for him to murder civilian protesters, he was brutally beaten and labeled a terrorist. The government denounced him, and Mario decided to flee the town of Estelí and seek political asylum in the United States.

Desperate, he left his home in May 2018 for a 10-day journey by bus to the U.S. He crossed through Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala before reaching the border at Reynosa, Mexico.

November 06, 2018

Even though Sally Sylla was born in the West African nation of Guinea, she can’t locate it on a map. She’s lived in Atlanta since she was 5.

The country of her birth is completely foreign to her.

“I’ve been in Georgia forever,” she said. “I know nothing about [Guinea].”

Her parents, fearing political persecution, escaped with her to the United States on a visitor visa in 1993. Now 29, Sally remembers the scar carved on her father’s stomach. “He had political ties over there, and they came after my family,” she said. “Someone stabbed him.” 

September 30, 2018

Margarito Velázquez Galicia had called Phoenix, Arizona, home for 14 years when his life was turned upside down.

It began on a January night in 2018 as he pedaled home on his bicycle after a long shift as a chef at a restaurant two blocks from his home. It was after midnight when a siren cut through the silence and the lights of a police car illuminated the street.

July 20, 2018

Morena Vasquez called Georgia her home for 23 years after escaping the violence and murder in El Salvador.

A mother to six children, Morena, 38, held two jobs. She moved her family from a trailer into a five-bedroom rental home after her husband – a Mexico native – was deported.

Through it all, she remained happy, and was grateful that she no longer lived in fear.

One evening, though, the life she loved, the life she had so preciously crafted, irrevocably changed.

June 22, 2018

After a 1,500-mile trek from Honduras, Moises and his 6-year-old son, Carlos, crossed the border together in May.

Immigration officials stopped them near McAllen, Texas. After only a few hours together in custody, immigration officials took the boy without warning to a separate area and placed him in a cage. Moises was handcuffed and taken away, too.

They never had a chance to say goodbye.

April 10, 2018

On the sunny, brisk morning of the first day of Vanderbilt spring break, I am cramped in a bronze minivan with six other students, cruising along the highway out of Nashville.

All of us are Vanderbilt students, but we have only just met. My six companions are all law students. I am the lone graduate student on the trip who is helping as a Spanish interpreter, although I have taken immigration law courses. To break the ice, we go around one by one and introduce ourselves, including where we are from.