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The Tiger's Eye

The Tiger's Eye

One year across the border

In order to protect the identity and privacy of the student, this story has names and locations changed.

Many people think that the American dream is all wonders. However, many times this dream can turn into a nightmare. Maximiliano Carranza is a perfect example.

A trip from Honduras to the soon-to-be “American Dream” suddenly turned into absolute horror for the Carranza family. 

“Family is the most important thing in Honduras, but not with me. We fought a lot in our family. It was not my main focus,” Carranza said. While living in Honduras, Carranza’s life was not perfect, so he came to the United States with his mother, Maricela Carranza.

On Feb. 10, 2022, Carranza began his trip. He did not know what was waiting for him.

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“First, I crossed Guatemala in four days. In about two more days, I arrived in Monterrey with my mother,” Carranza said. 

For the next three weeks, the Carranza family stayed in Monterrey, Mexico. At the end of the three weeks, the Carranza family was moved into a house on the United States-Mexico border.

In this house, there were 25 other people. The house was next to a mechanical workshop.

Since they were considered illegal immigrants, everyone in the house had to be silent. If a single word was heard by the neighbors, the household would be turned into the Mexican government, and horrible consequences would occur. 

The next Tuesday, Carranza tried to cross the border.

“The river was very frozen and they crossed us in groups,” Carranza said.

When Carranza’s group reached the other side of the river, the border patrol grabbed them and transferred them into a human-sized kennel to a border center located in Eagle Pass, Texas. In the border control center, they had rooms called “Ice Boxes.” 

These Ice Boxes consisted of very tiny rooms crowded with people, no mattresses and only a foil blanket to sleep with. Sometimes people’s lips and faces would turn completely blue due to cold temperatures. Carranza’s group lived here for three days. 

Later they were removed and deported to Mexico. 

“They gave us our things and they threw us off a bridge like we were dogs,” Carranza said. 

Once they all arrived in Mexico, a group of Christians picked them up to take them to a border guide. 

When the guide picked them up, it was already 9 p.m. The guide took them to the same house they had lived in previously. However, this time there were 62 people in the house. Once they arrived, they discovered that the heating in the house was completely ruined. During the day, it would get very hot due to the amount of people living there. 

The next day  Carranza had a talk with his mother. There was an opportunity for Carranza to cross the border on his own. At the time, the United States government was accepting minors, but not their parents. His mother agreed, so Carranza took the needed courage and separated from his mother to try to cross on his own. Therefore he crossed the river alone and turned himself into migration for the second time.

“It’s time to venture out alone,” Carranza said. “My mother accompanied me to the river and there my world fell apart because I separated from her,” Carranza said.

After this, Carranza never heard from his mother again. 

“When you want to pursue your dreams and you want to help your family, many times you have to make sacrifices,” Carranza said. “When crossing the border there are many scary things that can happen. However, the outcome will be worth it.”

Carranza told us about some of the many experiences he had after crossing the border. “After crossing the border, I returned to the Ice Box, filled out some paperwork, and then they moved me to a shelter that looks like a giant prison camp. In this camp there were 968 more children. I was there for more than 45 days without seeing the light of the sun. I only knew the time because I asked someone on the staff,” Carranza said.  

Carranza was not allowed to call his family until the 46th day of the immigration process. That day he was able to speak with his family and they told him that he was going to leave the shelter the next day.

As time went by, the number of people in the camp increased. When this happened, they reduced the food to all the children. As he was leaving the camp, he found a friend he met back at the house he used to live in. Carranza believed that he would never meet his family or friends ever again. 

Carranza then learned some new information about this mother. Carranza’s mother finally got to cross the border, however, she had to walk across a desert. Carranza was extremely excited to hopefully see his mother again.

On the way to the new unknown location, Carranza could not stop thinking about meeting his mother again. He said that this place where they stopped looked like a jail, but he did not know why he was getting put into a jail. He soon found out he was put into an unused former jail due to the fact his other camp was too full. 

When Carranza arrived at the shelter, he was quarantined for a month because he tested positive for COVID-19. Guards took him out and put him into an isolated area for a week. After the week-long wait, he was finally ready to leave.

Instead of staying at the shelter, Carranza was ready to be transported into the United States. A flight was scheduled and Carranza waited for the next few hours.

Carranza was a little scared of what was going to happen next. Carranza really wanted to see his mother again. He left the shelter at around 5 p.m. and they prayed together and then finally arrived at the airport at 9 p.m. 

“I took two flights to Tennessee, they delivered me to my aunt and that’s where I met the American dream,” Carranza said.

Carranza felt a sense of relief after being locked up in the immigration centers, he was finally free. However, Carranza was unknown about the idea that there was more to come.

Not even a day later Carranza started working in a construction company. While working Carranza got updates on his mother. She was safe and was located just off the border of the United States. 

Carranza’s mother started her journey a few days later. Not even three days into the trip, Carranza’s mother touched a deadly plant.

“My mother had touched a poisonous plant and she couldn’t walk and since she couldn’t walk then the other people left her dumped in the desert,” Carranza said. 

She arrived in the United States at the border control center. She was put into a house full of other illegal immigrants. Soon, a neighbor realized that there was a suspicious amount of people living in the house. 

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E) denounced them and were sending them back to the “Ice Boxes.” Fear had risen within the home, however, they didn’t know the people who took them were the head agents of I.C.E. 

“The people who had grabbed my mother were not people from the I.C.E. They were killers, they are very bad people,” Carranza said. “It felt like the world came crashing down on me when I heard the news.” 

The following weeks, Carranza fell into a state of depression. He had no desire to work or interact with the outside world. 

A few weeks later, the agents called Carranza and his aunt asking for a ransom payment. Agents made a deal with Carranza. If Carranza paid them $10,000, his mother would be set free.

Carranza was willing to risk it all. He worked extra hard for the money and eventually he had enough to withdraw the $10,000. 

“As they had promised, they released my mother. A family friend who lives in Mexico received her at his house and my mother was in very bad shape,” Carranza said. 

After paying the ransom, Carranza and his family were in a large amount of debt. Carranza took two more extra jobs to help provide for his family. 

One day, Carranza’s mother had to return back to their home country. The journey was completely restarted from the beginning. Carranza’s little brother became very ill and needed his mother to care for him. There were no doctors or anyone else to help, this was the only option. 

When his mother returned to Honduras, Carranza continued  living with his aunt.  “At first it was great, but soon my aunt began to misbehave. She started to drink every day and she wouldn’t let me go to work,” Carranza said. “She wanted me to drive her everywhere all the time and soon he and her husband started to abuse me verbally.”

Due to Carranza working multiple jobs, he had over $10,000 saved up. Carranza came home from work one day to a large amount of money being stolen from him by his aunt. This was the day everything went wrong. 

If everything was already going wrong, this is where the real story starts. 

“This time they physically abused me. My aunt hit me on the head. Her husband started to hit me too. Everyday after they came home from work, it got worse,” Carranza said. “Eventually they threw me out on the street and I had to sleep on the streets for a few days. I called a friend and told him about my situation and he told me that there was someone in Nebraska who could help me.” 

Carranza decided to come live in Nebraska. He was adopted by a new family and continues to live a new and healthy lifestyle.

“No one here mistreats me. Now I’m studying and doing my best to learn the English language,” Carranza said. 

Carranza has decided to turn his life around for the better and use his past to motivate those around him and spread awareness about the court immigration process. 

“Today I am still fighting for my life  because it is not easy to be away from my family. If I had to give advice to any young immigrants and just young people in general, it is to be strong,” Carranza said. “Every moment of pain is worth everything to live a life full of glory. Life is going to throw obstacles at you, and you need to learn how to battle them.”

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About the Contributors
Annabelle Bignell
Annabelle Bignell, Editor-in-Chief
Annabelle Bignell is a junior at Fremont High School. This is her second year on the Tiger’s Eye News staff and she is currently the Editor-in-Chief. Annabelle is the founder of Student Saftey Club, President for the Multicultural Club, a member of SOS, Student Council, Youth Leadership Academy and is the Black and Gold Media’s Business Manager.  She enjoys writing a variety of articles but her favorite are news and opinion and she plans on starting a new vlogging series for Tiger’s Eye News. Annabelle Bignell es una estudiante de tercer año en la escuela secundaria de Fremont. Este es su segundo año siendo parte del personal de Tigers Eye News y actualmente es Editora en jefe. Annabelle es una de las funcionarias del Club Multicultural, miembra de SOS, Gerente Comercial de Black and Gold Media y miembro del consejo estudiantil. Le encanta escribir una variedad de artículos, pero sus favoritos son los relacionados con las noticias y opiniones de las personas. Annabelle planea comenzar una nueva serie de blogs para Tigers Eye News. 
Jaime Ortega Castro
Jaime Ortega Castro, Spanish Editor
Jaime Ortega is a junior at Fremont High School. This is his first year on the Tiger’s Eye News staff and he is currently the Photo Editor. Jaime is a member of Multicultural Club, SOS, Black and Gold Media, Spanish Club, Spanish Honor Society, Youth Leadership Academy and on Student Council.  He enjoys photography and helping ELL students get used to their new environment. Jaime is from Guatemala and he is bilingual. He loves to listen to Adele's music. Jaime Ortega es un estudiante de tercer año en la escuela secundaria de Fremont. Este es su primer año en el personal de Tiger’s Eye News y actualmente es el Editor de Fotos. Jaime es miembro del Club Multicultural, SOS, Black and Gold Media, Espanol, Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica, Academia de Liderazgo Juvenil y el Consejo Estudiantil. Ama la fotografía y ayudar a los estudiantes del programa ELL a adaptarse a su nuevo entorno. Jaime es de Guatemala y es bilingüe. Le encanta escuchar la música de Adele.  
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