Immigration & Migrant Workers

Once Upon a Time There Was a Girl Named Dulce Carajal Whose Mother Was About to Be Deported

Courtesy of Cinthya Santos Briones and The Nation magazine.

The Nation
Published on Feb 14, 2018

Dulce Carvajal is a lot like most ten-year-olds. She likes reading and writing, drawing and horses, and playing with her younger siblings. She’s bright and shy and often soft-spoken. Too much attention embarrasses her. Candy makes her giddy. But unlike most other kids her age, she has spent the last six months of her young life living in a church alongside her mother and two younger siblings.

The family took refuge in Holyrood Church in Washington Heights last August, after Dulce’s mother, Amanda Morales, was told she was going to be deported to Guatemala. All three children—Dulce, Daniela, and David—are US citizens. But when faced with the prospect of being separated from her children while fighting the Trump administration’s deportation efforts, Amanda decided to bring her children into sanctuary with her.

Dulce is an aspiring writer and storyteller. So, as she has grappled with her new and complex world, she has begun writing her own story. In the evenings, sitting at the small dinner table or at the edge of her shared bunk bed, she peers at her family’s laptop and types in bursts of concentrated energy, pausing occasionally to ponder her next thought amid the din of her new life—her mother talking with some of the church members, who have become fast friends; her sister whirling across their single, cramped bedroom; and her baby brother’s tablet streaming his favorite cartoons.

What follows is Dulce’s story as told by her through photos, written text, and narration. It is the second installment of Finding Sanctuary, a Nation series chronicling Amanda and her children’s daily lives as they seek refuge from today’s increasingly anti-immigrant landscape.

Video Produced and edited by Cinthya Santos Briones.

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