Emilia first came to the U.S.A. in 1996.
She walked five days through the desert before she was intercepted and returned to Mexico. She set out again and was again sent back. By the time she and her fellow travelers made it on their fifth try, they had walked 25 days.
Emilia had relatives in Clarion. She sought a job near there at a local egg processing facility, claimed asylum for a visa, and paid annually to renew her work permit. “It’s a very calm town,” she said of her home of nearly two decades, using her daughter, Miriam, to translate. “I know a lot of people. I’ve made a lot of friends. It’s helped by having a good school and a good hospital. People are willing to help in this community.”
Miriam found herself exiled from the country for seven months in 2013 in an attempt to become a permanent resident. During Emilia’s first trip to America, Miriam stayed with her siblings and grandmother in Galban Caracas, a small town not far from Veracruz. On a border crossing in 1998, she brought Miriam and her other daughter, Yardira, also currently of Clarion.
In the second part of our ongoing series – in the July 17 issues of the Monitor and the Eagle Grove Eagle – find out more details about how Miriam came to Wright County, and how the process of seeking to remain here permanently forced her to temporarily leave – including the challenges of crossing the border and legal technicalities that complicated her official immigration. Our teaser for part one  is here.
Also in the Monitor’s July 17 issue, read an editorial from our occasional contributor Kaitlyn Huisinga Munro (who was raised in Clarion, taught in Myanmar, and works with refugees in Des Moines) on how aspects of the President’s current funding proposal may negatively affect refugee support programs already in place.