Sonia's NY Times Report: US Can Reduce Unlawful Migration

If the U.S. wants to reduce the number of people coming here unlawfully, it must help address horrific violence pushing people out of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, which have among the highest homicide rates on earth. When I say this, I usually get a lot of resistance. Why, people ask me, should the U.S. give any foreign aid or help places that are cesspools of corruption? It won't work, they insist. My latest New York Times piece shows that's just not so. Until last year, Honduras had the highest homicide rates in the world. San Pedro Sula, it's second largest city, reigned as the world's murder capitol, and its Rivera Hernández neighborhood led the grim body count. And yet targeted prevention and intervention programs by the U.S. have helped reduce the homicide rate by a remarkable 62% in the past two years. Yes, a good news story! Please share with your friends.  Read the NYT story online HERE.  There will be a Spanish version on the NYT website tomorrow.  I have also uploaded PHOTOS OF MY TRIP to Honduras. 

Please Help Two Amazing People Who are Bringing Positive Change
Sometimes, as a reporter, I meet amazing people. They are so extraordinary, I want to go out of my way to help them. On my June reporting trip to Honduras, I met evangelical Pastor Daniel Pacheco [See photo of me with him below]. Danny, who I wrote about in my NYT piece, is constantly risking his life in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the world to reduce gang violence. He turned a house taken over by gangs--a Casa Loca where people were raped, tortured, and murdered--into a Casa de la Esperanza, a House of Hope to teach children values, to give them a place to play, give them an alternative to the gang life. Six months ago, that house, pictured on the donation link below, was sold by its owner and Pastor Danny had to vacate. Pastor Danny is poor. He sells horchata on the streets to fund his anti-gang work. We could buy the house for him for $22,000. I'll kick in the first $500. The amount sounds like a lot, but if each of you kicks in $20, or whatever you can, Pastor Danny can re-open his House of Hope.   WE CAN DO THIS! PLEASE DONATE HERE.

Some of you read the story of Olga Sánchez Martinez in Enrique's Journey. She opened a shelter in southern Mexico for migrants mutilated by trains. When I went there more than a decade ago, it was full of central americans who had lost legs and arms trying to ride the freight train, La Bestia, north through Mexico. Olga has now opened another shelter for central american refugees--women and children fleeing gang and narco violence. Olga visited me in Los Angeles, and spoke to me about wanting to offer traumatized migrant children, kids who have been through so much, music therapy. She wants to create an orchestra of migrant children. She already has music teachers. But she needs instruments. Friends and readers of my book have already sent me the instruments shown above. Do you have something gathering dust? Please email me at to arrange to get it to me. I'll get it to Olga!

Are you a budding activist, too?
This year, the Pulitzer Prizes celebrate their centennial. I was asked to write an essay for the Pulitzer website about how winning the award changed me. I wrote about how readers of my story forced me to change. I'm now introduced to audiences as an advocate. And that's OK!   I promise to forward my essay once it's published . In 2015 and 2016 several organizations gave me awards for my advocacy for immigrant children and refugees. Some, like this American Heritage Award from the American Immigration Council, are works of art. 

Update on Enrique and his family
Last year I spent time with Lourdes, Enrique's mother, when we both spoke at Sam Houston State University. Lourdes is doing well. She still cleans homes with Enrique's wife, María Isabel, and remains very involved in her apostolic church. Last year, prompted by years of bad behavior, she kicked Enrique out of her house, where he had been living with María Isabel and their two children. Enrique began living with another woman. Despite living nearby, he rarely sees his two children, who live with Lourdes and their mother. Sadly, Enrique is repeating what he knows and lived himself as he was growing up. When I went to Honduras this summer, I visited Enrique's sister, Belky. Belky and her husband are raising their two sons and also remain very involved in their church in Honduras. They recently expanded their tiny home, and are struggling to make ends meet. They pray that the violence and poverty that have plagued their country for so long improves. 

New resources for educators on Sonia's website
I'm constantly putting new resources for middle school, high school, and college educators on my website, The latest: a counseling guide published by Fairfax County, Virginia schools on how to help immigrant students traumatized by what they have seen in their home countries, the journey north, and to help them adjust to their new lives in the U.S. SEE IT HERE. Last month, the Washington Post listed Enrique's Journey as the third best selling paperback nonfiction book. BUY THE BOOK HERE

See Sonia Speak at a College Near You

Enrique's Journey is one of the most popular books for common and freshman read programs at universities [nearly 90 so far!] and high schools nationwide. I'll be at Michigan State, Missouri State, Georgia State, and even in Oslo, Norway in the coming months. I'd love to see you or your students at one of my upcoming events. VIEW UPCOMING SPEAKING EVENTS
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