Action 4 Investigates: Deported Children, Dreams

Nearly every day, local border officials say they stop children from being smuggled into the United States.

They said the price to smuggle a child reaches up to thousands of dollars.

That price, though, does not include the mental and physical toll that can be taken on a child during the process.

Eleuterio Valdez-Villarreal is the director at a government children TMs shelter in Reynosa, Mexico.

He says the children there are angry, their dreams crushed.

"Their dreams are cut short and they arrive here with anger," Valdez-Villarreal said.

One example is Edwin.

He told Action 4 News he was smuggled into the United States at 3 years old.

"I was raised there, Edwin said. Alla toda mi vida."

Years later, Edwin finds himself in Mexico, the country where he was born but does not know.

"It's like a place where one's a visitor," he said in Spanish.

Edwin must wait till a family member comes for him.

He says he's scared no one will.

It's a fear many of the Mexican children face at the shelter, not having a family member to come pick them up.

This problem crosses the border.

Carly Salazar works with immigrant children in the United States.

She says parents are afraid to come forward, fearing deportation.

"They want nothing more than to meet their mom or their dad, Salazar said, so when the reality sets in that that's not going to happen, it's very hard for them.

The office where Salazar works is covered with artwork from detained immigrant children.

She says although at heart, they are children, their view of life is tainted.

"They often see murders, beatings, rapes, says Salazar. A number of the children report being raped themselves or beaten."

In Reynosa, Valdez-Villarreal said the his children are often physically and emotionally hurt, but their dreams are not.

Take Edwin, for example.

He says he is frightened, but has faith he will get back to the United States.