Trump's refugees: Fleeing a xenophobic America

by Travis Lupick on December 6th, 2017 at 4:00 PM

Antonio Mejia traveled more than 7,500 kilometers to get to Vancouver. By train, by bus, and some of it on foot. For one stretch, he waded through the water, across the Rio Grande under the cover of night.

Many years ago, in 1999, he sent a member of the notorious MS-13 gang to prison. When that man was released in 2009, he wanted payback, Mejia said.
“I worked for the police department, in El Salvador,” Mejia began, recounting his journey in an interview with the Georgia Straight.
In the years in between, he had gotten married and fathered two children. He had no desire to go a second round with MS-13. Mejia left the police force and his family relocated from Soyapango, a suburb east of the capital of San Salvador, to Santa Tecla, on its far west.
The death threats ceased. But one day the gang came for his eldest son.
“Now the banditos were trying to recruit my kid,” Mejia said.
“We’re all going to leave,” he told his wife.
In 2015, the couple and their children fled El Salvador for Guatemala. Mejia continued north, to look for work in America. For two years, he found odd jobs, first in Texas and then California, trying to establish a new life in the United States. Then came November 8, 2016.
“When Trump won, everything changed,” Mejia said, interviewed with the assistance of a translator.

“There was no way I was ever going to get legal status there,” he explained. “There was never going to be a fair decision. So I began to prepare everything to leave.”


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