SAN DIEGO, California – Victor* first came to the United States in 2006. He left his village in the mountains of Peru during the country’s civil war in the 1990s after his family’s cow was stolen at gunpoint. As a farmer, his family’s entire livelihood was in that cow and the loss of it forced Victor to flee. First to the capital Lima, and later to Mexico.
He eventually crossed the border into the US, where he worked his way up to being a restaurant manager, and then got a job for a construction company. But in January, Victor’s mother became gravely ill and he left the US to take care of her in Peru. When she recovered, Victor made his way back to the US border, but things had changed significantly since he last crossed more than five years earlier.
The border was better fortified and Border Patrol agents seemed more abundant.