What do you lose when you cross a border?

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On one side of Gate 23 at the Miami airport, my family and I are excitedly waiting for
our flight to Ecuador. It has been three years for my kids and four for my wife since
they last visited Ecuador. Lots of emotions, feelings, fears, and questions are filling our
minds while we wait. Our experience is one of excitement, reconnections, family, and
traditions. We all look happy.

In the same Gate 23, on the other side, a young Ecuadorian woman has arrived right in
front of us. She is not alone, and her face does not express excitement. It is not hard to
notice her because she is accompanied by an immigration officer. The young woman
looks embarrassed. She sits quietly and begins charging her phone, the only belonging
she seems to carry with her. Her long black hair blocks her face, but the officer who sits
a few seats away, perhaps to provide some dignity, does not take her eyes from the
young woman. She is not older than 25, looks healthy and bright. She reminds me of
when I came to this country for the first time, ready to face and embrace the “American
Dream,” but in this case, hers is stopped right there. An ankle tracker shined on her left
leg, confirming my suspicion: she was being deported. We both had the same
destination, Ecuador, but mine came with a return ticket to the US while hers would
perhaps lead to another attempt crossing the Mexican – US border.

As an immigrant, you lose many things when you cross the border. Your family, your
friends, your connections, your identities, and even your dignity. But it is possible to one
day regain all these things you lost, or even rebuild them. The roots of migration are
ancient, but most people don’t leave their home countries just for the sake of leaving
but for a reason that usually goes beyond their will. To be able to understand the
conditions that force people to migrate it is important to deeply understand the
historical events that each country holds.

In the effort to provide opportunities to our community to understand the conditions and consequences of human mobility (refugees, migrants, asylum seekers, and others), I would like to invite you to be part of our Hilltop’s EJI-Parent Education Series, Session 10 “Refugees and Migrant Voices” with Dorah Urujeni and Marco Yunga Tacuri, this Wednesday, March 16th at 6:30 pm via Zoom. Please, contact me if you would like to participate, or would like more information.

Yupaichani / Gracias / Thank You,
Marco Yunga Tacuri