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Thursday, June 2, 2016

June 1, 2016: Del Rio News-Herald * OPINION * Letter to the Editor * Refugee reality

Letter to the Editor,

Refugee Reality

While our Refugee Relief Services delegation was working at the site that serves as a rest area for the refugees, I met a woman named Mya Zapatos.

This is her story; I hope you’ll take the time to read it.

I asked Zapatos to tell me about the circumstances that led to her becoming a refugee fleeing the United States.

She told me that 9 months ago her home was destroyed in one of the fierce attacks which had been raging around the city of Del Rio, Texas.

The area was not safe because it continually was the site of battles between the Blue Brigade and the Red Rebels.

Four weeks ago Zapatos made the difficult decision to flee her native country.

She has traveled across Mexico, paid to be smuggled across the border into Guatemala, traveled by land to Ecuador, and then booked passage on a small boat to one of the Galápagos Islands.

This travel by sea in a boat was the most dangerous and treacherous part of the journey so far.

I asked Zapatos who the American people side with in this war.

She told me the average American does not care whether the Blue Brigade remains in power or whether the Red Rebels take control of the country.

Zapatos stated that the battle is for authority and power, but the average American’s life would be the same no matter who was in control.

She said that she is like many other Americans, she just wants to live in peace and tranquility and continue to live her life in her home country.

Zapatos completely rejects the notion that countries receiving refugees will be in greater danger of terrorism.

She said the American people are peaceful and industrious, and the idea that Americans would want to harm the countries that host them is irrational.

When I asked Zapatos if she would return to America once the war is over she immediately replied, “Of course, who does not want to live in their native land.”

She is part of the long human river of refugees that now stretches from Mexico to Argentina.

Zapatos hates that she’s being forced to be a refugee.

She is not unusual; she’s like so many of the refugees that we are seeing.

They are just decent people doing their best to stay alive and survive.

Marian Casillas, Ed.D.