Celeste keeps an arm around her nine-year-old daughter, Esther, as she warily surveils the people around them. Cartel gangs had roamed the camp again last night. She heard the gunshots and pleading of the gangs’ latest kidnap victims as they were dragged away. Celeste has no money and no relatives to pay a ransom, but that doesn’t mean they are safe. Young girls are abducted every night to be sold to sex traffickers.
Yes, the makeshift migrant camp outside Juarez, Mexico is horrible. Even so, Celeste has seen worse in her hometown in Haiti. Three months ago, gangs burned her whole Haitian neighborhood, including her shack. Her husband, a Haitian police officer, had died in a gun battle trying to protect them. Celeste ran for her life, but mostly to protect Esther.
Friends from her ravaged neighborhood helped Celeste and Esther get aboard a boat headed for Barranquilla, a port city in Colombia. From there, they joined a caravan travelling by foot to the U.S. border.
This is their third week in the Juarez camp; most of the migrants have been here much longer. Celeste doesn’t know how long they can continue to wait for their turn to apply for asylum. Things are so bad-and dangerous-in the camp that she is surprised to still be alive each morning. But what choice do they have? They can’t go back home; there is no home left for them in Haiti. All that matters to Celeste is getting her daughter to safety in America.