The mass migration of Central American children has made headlines, sparked debate, and ignited a political firestorm in recent weeks, but one Iowa woman hopes her experience can shine some light on why this is happening, and what can be done to help. Kenia Calderon made the journey from El Salvador to the United States 9 years ago, when she was just 11. She says her native country was on a downward spiral of economic despair, crime, and gang violence, which has only gotten worse.
Calderon received a work permit under an Obama administration program created in 2012 called “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” and currently works as an administrative assistant for the American Friends Service Committee while attending Drake University.
Calderon says she doesn’t know if the Deferred Action program or something similar is the right answer for the current flood of immigrants, but she says it’s time to look for solutions rather than playing the “blame game.”
Calderon hopes her success story will give hope to other immigrant children, and to help put a face on the current situation for many Iowans who might not have connections to that part of the world.