Journeys of Undocumented Honduran Migrants to the United States

Journeys of Undocumented Honduran Migrants to the United States

Journeys of Undocumented Honduran Migrants to the United States

Journeys of Undocumented Honduran Migrants to the United States

Synopsis

Sladkova explores undocumented Honduran migration to the United States through interviews with Honduran migrants who made the crossing through Mexico and across the guarded border to the U.S. She examines the factors that contribute to their success or failure: access to finances, ability to hire a coyote, means of transport in Mexico, encounters with Mexican police and immigration. Mexico is the most difficult part of the journey for Honduran migrants. Many are injured or die in the hands of gangs, police, and from freight trains they travel on top of. The U.S.-Mexico border presents only the final barrier; many don't even reach it. Sladkova also explores the psychological processes migrants employ to process their experiences of the dangerous journey, which most would never undergo again.

Excerpt

“On Wednesday it will be 8 days since they left,” my friend
Maria tells me as I talk to her on the phone, long distance, New
York-Honduras. “Who? What?” I ask in confusion. As Maria
answers “Luis and Pedro … with a coyote. I have not heard from
them,” my heart freezes. I now understand that Maria’s son and
son-in-law, both fathers of young children, left for the United
States in hopes to resolve the family’s difficult economic situation
she had told me about. I worry because of what may happen to
them as they negotiate their way North.

The research described in this book, originally driven by academic curiosity, became personal, as friends I’ve made over the past several years in Honduras participate in the growing undocumented migration from Honduras to the United States. We hear much about undocumented immigrants in discussions critiquing or supporting their presence in the United States but not much is known about what these migrants go through to get to the United States. Thus, one of the goals for this book is to present the complex process of the journey from Honduran migrants’ perspectives.

Luis and Pedro did not join the approximately 1 million people who enter the United States without required documents (The Economist, 5/2005), most in hopes to improve their economic conditions in their home communities. Instead, they shared an experience of many other Central American migrants who get captured in Mexico and deported back to Honduras. Many Central and South American migrants undergo a long journey on their way to the United States and are often exposed to various dangers both before and during the crossing of the U.S.-Mexico border. Even though some research

All names throughout the book are fictional to protect individuals’ identities.

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