It cost her days of relearning who she was, hours repeating to herself in the shower: “This is your name. This is how old you are. You are a US citizen.”
And when the coyote told her to hop in the back of the truck, Daisy got in. When her transporter told her to keep her head down, Daisy complied. And at 10 years old, when Daisy didn’t understand why she needed a new name, the coyote told her, “Es por tu bien” (it’s for your own good).
It was hardly by choice that Daisy (whose last name has been omitted for protection) crossed from Mexico to Texas without anyone but the stranger helping conceal her. She was escaping a culture of death, a history of violence, and the disturbing memory of a night she still struggles with nine years later.
“I told my mom, ‘I want to go back to Mexico, I don’t want to be here.’ And my mom told me ‘You can’t go back to Mexico, you are already in the United States.’”
She didn’t know then, but Daisy would go onto complete high school in Washington DC, with the hope of pursuing a law degree she could use to work in Mexico.
Now at 19 and a high school senior, she is part of a group of undocumented youth that share their story around the DC, Maryland and Virginia area. For Daisy and other non-native English speakers, not being able to communicate means finally arriving in the United States is not the end of their grief.