Journalist fights for better immigration law


Jordan Sweidan/The Skyline View

Sonia Nazario passionately talks about the foreign policy problem that plagues the immigration issue that the US faces.

Best known for her award winning novel “Enrique’s Journey,” the story of a 17-year-old boy’s journey from Honduras in search of his mother. Sonia Nazario shared with the audience not only the story of Enrique’s journey, but hers as well. She spent nearly five years thoroughly investigating this story, following and step-by-step retracing Enrique’s trip.

Journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Nazario gave a powerful and moving speech to Skyline students on campus on Monday, Oct. 9.

Nazario discusses the struggle she had seen not only Enrique face but many other children in Central America, and everywhere around the world.

“I knew right away what my focus of the story was,” Nazario said. “Mother leaves porch in search of better opportunities in order to provide for their child. The child leaves the same porch on a very dangerous journey, in search of the mother.”

She stressed the importance and highly debated topic over immigration reform. In Enrique’s case, these are often teenagers who hop trains and take the journey to the United States.

But more recently, in the last several years, border patrol has been finding very young children attempting to come into America, sent by parents who are so desperate to get them out of harm’s way in their own countries.

According to United Nations Population Division, 51 percent of immigrants from the 41.3 million immigration population are women and children.

Nazario brought up a topic that is very front and center: illegal immigration.

While not advocating throwing open the borders to all, in the case of children running away from incredibly dangerous environments she is asking that immigration for them be looked at differently.

Nazario’s hope is that this story will start the discussion that could lead to changes in foreign and domestic policy, and immigration reform.

“The important part for students to take away is the humanizing of people coming across the border. It’s easy to make into just this topic, versus these people being actual human beings,” said Lucia Lachmyr, Language Arts Puente Program Faculty. “That’s something that’s really powerful for people, to get them to understand it isn’t just immigration but it is about people.”

Nazario explained that throughout writing the novel, Enrique’s situation seemed all too common.

“I think Sonia’s efforts are very important for our community. Not only the Latino community but the entire country,” Skyline student Daniela Tashi said. “I am very glad we could hear her first-hand experience and get a little bit more insight of what is going on around us. We know about these topics, but we aren’t quite aware.”

Nazario makes clear that this is the most important issue of all: the coming apart of family is easy to relate to.

The unfortunate circumstances, traumatic experiences between a mother and her child brought on by dire situations, the feeling of abandonment remain even after being reunited with one another. A painful choice that taunts both the child and the mother for the rest of their lives.

Nazario’s speech brought to light the harsh reality of life for many women and children across the world.

Her call for early education, work programs, micro-loans for families; these are all important ideas that need to be looked at as viable solutions to this ongoing economic and social issue, affecting so many.