Alma lost an eye when her house collapsed under ash. Milo severed his thumb por una bomba. Juana married John in Las Vegas. Ernesto washed dishes in Hollywood until his skin cracked while impaled children lined El Mozote. I eat pan con café de palo for breakfast while David Bowie sings labyrinths to the tune of leather.
It’s about a half-hour train ride to Yonkers, much of it along the river. You come out of the city, off the island, and countryside appears—green strips of landscape, woody bluffs, brown water, telephone lines.
In early June, President Obama declared the wave of unaccompanied minors crossing illegally into the US—a number expected to reach 90,000 this year—an “urgent humanitarian situation.” While FEMA now coordinates their basic care, the federal government announced a paltry $2 million legal-aid program to provide unaccompanied minors legal representation—something the vast majority of them do not receive. Last year, Lauren Markham reported from the Rio Grande Valley on the legal limbo in which thousands of these kids—many of whom might qualify for asylum—find themselves.