October 19, 2014


Unaccompanied minors ride atop the wagon of a freight train, known as La Bestia (The Beast) in Ixtepec, in the Mexican state of Oaxaca on June 18, 2014.


Immigration, specifically child immigration was flooding the headlines a few months ago.  We have had several family members and friends ask us about our experience from this end and while we understand that our perspective is quite limited, the plight of the child immigration crisis is not affecting Nicaragua in the same way that it is up north.

We thought that this article, Why Nicaraguan Kids Aren't Fleeing to the US, outlines very clearly the reasons why.  A revolution, different policing methods, less gangs and a different history and relationship with the United States and its immigration process, all play a role in why.

Yet immigration plays a role in almost every family we have gotten to know.  Young children may not be traveling north, but they most likely have a mother, uncle or grandfather either north or south.  People are leaving due to the typical push and pull factors, including poverty, poor economic conditions, lack of opportunities, violence and the hope for a better future.

We recently spent a Saturday class discussing this topic with our students.  Many had previously lived outside of Nicaragua and every individual has an immediate family member currently living in another country.  We talked about the positives and the negatives of immigration, its effects on individuals and families.  The conversations we are having in class with our students and with our neighbors and friends are not hypothetical, they are not musings about policies in a land far away. They are about their lives, about their loved ones.

At this time, we remember our friend Jessenia who is currently in a detention center in Texas, waiting to hear the judge's decision regarding her future.  We think of her children who are here in Estelí with their grandmother and their father who is working in Miami.  We remember our friend Elmer who recently left to work on an oil rig for six months in Louisiana.  We think of his wife and two children who have stayed behind.  We remember our friend Ana, who recently left for Costa Rica to work as a cook in a restaurant.  We think of our next-door neighbor boy, Daniel, who lives with distant family friends because his mother is living in Los Angeles, waiting tables, trying to start a new life. 

Immigrant stories are all around us, and there is much to remember.


The following are resources that we utilized in class that we would recommend for further reading and information gathering:

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