August 18, 2014 · 6:15 PM EDT
More than 50,000 underage migrants, mostly from Central America, have been caught trying to cross the US southern border since the fall of 2013.
They face tremendous risks, just getting to that point. Some jump onto a freight train known as “The Beast,” where one wrong move could mean a lost limb — or worse. Some are kidnapped by drug cartels. So why, given all the risks, would any parent put their children through the journey?
Pablo and Maria, who asked that their last name be withheld to protect their identity, are just such parents. They have two boys — the oldest is 11, the youngest is 9.
“They’ve been strong,”Maria said, referring to her boys as “my little bugs.” But she has been very worried about them.
“It’s not the same to say ‘Son, I love you’ from far away,” Maria said.