Two brothers who spent 14 years apart sit at a kitchen table in a mobile home outside of Minneapolis. The elder one, David, looks around at the freshly painted blue walls with pride. He’s adding new window frames, flooring and appliances bit by bit to make a home for his family.
David left El Salvador on Sept. 1, 2005. He was 20 and the journey to Minnesota, where his father was living, took 22 days.
“You remember the whole trip, counting each day to get here,” he says. “We didn’t come on the plane.”
His younger brother, Josue, did take a flight. A special refugee program run by the US State Department gave him a chance to arrive legally in Minnesota. The program, which began in 2014, was intended to keep families like theirs, desperate to reunite and escape violence, from sending children on dangerous overland routes to the US border. The Central American Minors program was discontinued by the Trump administration in 2017.