Some of the Dream 30, as they prepared to cross the border Monday morning. Photo: Steve Pavey/NIYA
by Aura Bogado
More than 30 people have successfully crossed the U.S.-Mexico border at the Laredo port of entry in Texas, as part of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance’s Bring Them Home campaign. Today’s very public border crossing is a follow-up to what the Dream 9 did about two months ago.
As they prepared to enter into Texas, the group of about 35 crossers, surrounded by friends, family and supporters began shouting louder and louder chants in English and Spanish, including, “Undocumented! Unafraid!”
Among the 35 or so who crossed was 13-year-old Ingrid Gallegos. The Gallegos family left Phoenix, Ariz., because they were scared of living under Sheriff Joe Arpaio as undocumented immigrants—but they say it’s been much worse in Mexico.
Speaking by phone this morning, Galleges said she’s leaving any fear she has behind in Mexico as she attempts to make her journey to relatives—including her 8-year-old brother, Javier—in Phoenix. But she may be detained in a juvenile facility as her case is processed, and there is no guarantee that she will even be allowed to stay in the United States.
But none of that sways her. “I know very well what I’m doing,” said Gallegos. “And I am not afraid anymore.”
Her father, Plácido Gallegos, said goodbye not only to 13-year-old Ingrid, but to 16-year-old Jessica today as well. He says his daughters never got used to being back in Mexico, and will be safer with relatives in Phoenix. “It hurts me to separate myself from them, but they deserve a chance to live out their dreams,” he said.
Citing privacy laws, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency declined to comment on any specific case, but made clear that anyone wanting to enter the U.S. must demonstrate admissibility.