Ana Zelaya is terrorized due to the harassment her children suffer from gangs who control her neighborhood and she is determined to take them to the United States. She hopes, though, to get there before elected-President Donald Trump builds the wall he promised in order to curb the influx of undocumented immigrants like her.
The 42-year-old woman, a secretary in a commercial house, is the mother of 15-year-old Diego and 9-year-old Josue and she lives in a colony in southern San Salvador. However, her colony is dominated by the fearsome Mara Salvatrucha gang.
Diego just finished eighth grade and Josué just finished the second grade in a school. Her husband left to the United States 8 years ago and he has sent part of the money for the trip.
The only thing they will carry with them are three backpacks with clothes, as demanded by the “coyote”, or illegal immigrant trafficker, who will guide them along the way.
We know the coyote, he was the one who took my husband to the United States. Of course it’s scary to make the trip, but I prefer to do that than seeing my children get killed,
admitted Zelaya, recalling a young man from her neighborhood who was killed for refusing to join the gang.
At least 200, without-documents Salvadorans try to cross to the United States every day and many of them are returned when they are caught.
Figures, from the General Directorate of Migration, indicated that from January to October, 17,320 Salvadorans were deported from the United States.