We left Ethiopia, where I was born and lived, and walked to Kenya. There were thirty of us, mostly older than me. From Kenya we traveled to South Africa. I had a counterfeit passport from Kenya and South Africa. We flew from South Africa to Brazil, where I worked my way north and ended up in a shelter in Texas for seven months.

When I got here my English was bad and I spoke no Spanish. I had no one when I was taken into custody. One of the people working in the shelter would yell at me, very verbally abusive. I think, that, because the caretaker was Christian he didn’t like the fact that I was Muslim. Eventually, I was moved to California and was told that I might go to a foster home after a week. The week passed, I was very nervous. I have cousins in Dallas and Washington D.C who can’t help me, my birth certificate was lost.

– A.M.A, age 16, Southwest Keys Facility, El Cajon, California

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