While undocumented immigrants in the U.S. face the danger of being detained and deported, the undocumented youth have a more difficult time finding a home throughout their lives in America.
18 year old Edgar Salazar was detained for over two years after witnessing the murder of his friend in his home, Chihuahua, Mexico. After being detained in seven detention centers in seven different states in the United States, he was finally released in Linden, NJ at the age of 18. He reached out to First Friends of NY & NJ and they found him a temporary home until he receives his work visa.
“I came to the United States when I was 2 years old in 1998,” explains Salazar. He grew up in Colorado where he attended school, and skied and snowboarded as a hobby. His parents were deported in July 2010 back to Mexico.
Salazar did not know of his status until his father was held detained before he was deported. He went back to Mexico, but never fully assimilated into Mexican society. Salazar felt he was truly an American teenager and had dreams of coming home to the U.S. He came back to the U.S. in April 2012 with a fake passport.
“I crossed the border, and I was at the bus terminal and they asked me for my paperwork and I said ‘I don’t have any papers.’ That’s when I got apprehended,” explains Salazar. He was immediately captured by the border patrol and his life in detention began. Salazar was transferred seven times: to Colorado, California, Washington state, Virginia, Texas, New York and finally, New Jersey.
In January 15, 2014, Salazar was released in Linden, NJ. Today, he is working to receive his work visa. Edgar is working as an advocate for First Friends and for the undocumented population that is in detainment.