You read in the New York Times about a semi-trailer rig carrying as many as 76 illegal Central American immigrants, including 13 children. The trailer truck driver was stopped at a Texas border patrol checkpoint, 35 miles north of Laredo. Men and children were lying down intertwined or crouched against the wall of the rig. They unwound legs, protected heads with arms, squinted sharply and were herded off to detention centers.
The next day, your Ecuadorian housekeeper arrives at your house with swollen cheeks. She tells you her 24-year old son is in jail in Dixon, Texas. Without telling her, he had married his sweetheart the day before he left his modest house from your village in the Andes, wearing new shoes, shirt and pants. He had paid a coyote $15,000 to get through Mexico, through Texas and on to New Jersey. You showed her the New York Times picture of the men lying in the trailer. For the longest time she stood in your kitchen, scanning, enlarging the photograph with her fingers, looking for her son Carlos.