Having seen – only once – a photo of his father and visited only occasionally by his mother, it was 16-year old Elvin’s dream to join his 30 year-old uncle in the U.S. If both of them could send money to his impoverished grandmother caring for his two younger siblings, life for them would be less difficult.
In August 2009, Elvin set out from Honduras to accomplish his dream which, in reality, turned out to be an unforgettable nightmare for the teen.
The first month was spent hopping trains or walking with no money through Mexico. The only tolerable part of the journey was the food, which he had to beg for.
However, during the next three months, each day became a near death experience. Elvin was kidnapped in Mexico near the U.S. border and held in a room with so many victims there wasn’t even room for furniture. During those three months, Elvin wore the same clothes and was often beaten when the phone numbers he was forced to give resulted in no ransom money. Incredibly, he was eventually released after those torturous three months. He finally crossed the border to the U.S. and was captured by Border Patrol in November 2009.
Elvin’s journey continued by being shifted from one juvenile detention center to another: a total of four. On his 18th birthday, in December 2010, he was transferred to the adult detention center in Port Isabel, Texas. During his two years in detention, Elvin applied for asylum. His case was heard and with the help of Laura, a paralegal employed by ProBar, he won and was granted asylum. Elvin was released and arrived at La Posada on March 24, 2011. It was here Elvin learned that his uncle, who had been working in the U.S. in construction for seven years, was deported to Honduras in November 2010. Shortly after his arrival, his uncle was murdered.
What are Elvin’s plans? Realizing he will be the sole supporter of his grandmother and his two siblings, he holds on to his dream of helping them. Elvin hopes to remain at La Posada several weeks, studying English and connecting with his uncle’s former U.S. friends who have offered him hospitality and a promise of a job.