The third soul in my En Memoriam project honoring asylum seekers who did not survive the rigors of the American border.
Mariee Juarez of Guatemala
Age: 19 mos.
Died May 10, 2018, New Jersey
(after being held at ICE detention in Dilley, TX)
After experiencing inhospitable violence in her home country, Mariee's mother, Yazmin Juárez, was faced with the difficult choice of staying in Guatemala and likely facing death or fleeing to the United States to apply for asylum. The decision to embark on such a journey was a remarkably dangerous one with no guarantee of obtaining legal status in the end, but as Yazmin recounted, the crushing instability of their home country made staying put impossible.
When the two arrived at the border in Texas, they were quickly funneled into the U.S. immigrant detention system to wait for their case to be processed. They were both examined by a doctor and found to be healthy. The two were then transferred to a facility in Dilley, Texas where they were crammed into a filthy, crowded cell with sick children. Mariee became sick within a week of their detention with a cough and runny nose and grew steadily worse; contracting a high fever and diarrhea and vomiting.
Yazmin stood in line for hours, begging the guards for help. When Mariee was finally seen, she was given antibiotics after a quick examination. Yazmin begged the clinicians to run additional tests and allow her daughter to stay in a more sanitary area until she recovered, but she was sent back into their overcrowded cell with the other sick children.
Shortly thereafter, the two were released from custody and allowed to stay with family in New Jersey until their asylum claim could be heard in court. Upon their arrival, Juárez rushed her daughter to the hospital where it became clear that her condition was far worse than diagnosed. Mariee died six weeks later, on the day celebrated as Mother’s Day in Guatemala.
Mariee and Yazmin's full story HERE.
A blog of inspirations, interpretations-- things that move and fascinate me in this place where I'm planted.