August 28 -- John came to the United States riding atop three car tire inner tubes with six compatriots pushing him, swimming as hard as they could against the current of the Rio Grande. On the other side waited a “coyote” with a safe house to hide in until they could make a dash past border guards. It was a hot and sunny day in Laredo, Texas, when John first set foot on American soil in 2007. Within 72 hours, he was in a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Houston, one specifically designed for housing young children who had been caught entering the United States illegally from South American and Central American countries and were awaiting deportation. The flood of so-called “border kids,” who now stream toward the border by the tens of thousands and have sparked political wrangling, had yet to begin in those days: unaccompanied kids like John were still a small slice of the border-hopping population. John, now 22, says that life in that Houston detention center was comfortable and generally pleasant. Today, he is a legal resident of the United States, living in Southampton with an uncle. His parents, who lived in the United States for nearly 20 years, have returned to Ecuador. John has asked that his real name not be used for fear of harassment over the way in which he made his way to America. But while John’s ultimate fate was somewhat different from those of immigrants who spend months in detention awaiting deportation hearings, his tale paints a telling portrait of the harrowing journey that many of today’s young immigrants endure to come to the United States.
Westhampton Beach senior McKinley Skala slides safely into home for a run. DREW BUDD
Westhampton Beach sophomore Melanie Meyer sends a pitch to deep left field. DREW BUDD
Westhampton Beach sophomore Elana Seltzer puts a ball in play. DREW BUDD
Allie Parascandola DREW BUDD
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One fine body…