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Miguel, 10

This place called a detention center is like a prison for us, because we don’t have freedom, we can’t leave the room without our moms, or go into the room if we’re not with our moms, or they will write up a bad conduct report on us. They go through our drawers just like a prisoner. Sometimes they treat us with kindness, but other times they don’t treat us well due to the fact that some are good and others are angry. In the beginning you eat the food, but later you don’t anymore, because it’s always the same. For example, for breakfast they give you eggs and bread and cereal, and most of us kids don’t eat the meal.


The good thing about this place is that since there is school, we don’t lose a year of classes, and they give us shoes and four outfits so we can change our clothes. Three or four families live in one room. It’s sad not knowing how long we will be locked up here. Sometimes a mom doesn’t have enough money to talk with family on the telephone, for example, (talking) to my dad, except for the three minutes that they give you with a little slip of paper when you first get here. I’ve been here about three months, and I’ve only talked to my dad once. My mom earns $3.00 but she uses it to buy soup or popcorn for my brother and me, or the fee to call my aunt who is going to give us a place to live. But calling my dad is really expensive, since my brother and I spend $7.00 talking, and the $3.00 only buys two soups and a cookie. It bothers me to not even know when we’ll get out of here, although I have hope we’ll be freed. God willing we’ll get asylum.

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