Un Dia Sin Fronteras

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Manuel Guerro Casas Tells His Story – Un Dia Sin Fronteras

Manuel Guerra Casas Tells His Story



Manuel Casas Dream Act



Un Dia Sin Fronteras


Tim Paynter

En Vivo Por El Internet


Lunes, Julio 18th, 2011



1150 AM Radio



Un Dia

Sin  Fronteras



A El Medio Dia

Mountain Standard Time


Immigrant Youth Flees Poverty and Gangs



Manuel Guerra Casas


In Deportation Proceedings!


a Roots Camp Star


Manuel Guerrero Casas



This Story originally appeared on Technorati as  Breaking: Deportation Of Future Catholic Priest


When Manuel Guerra Casas set out on the smugglers’ trail towards the U.S. from Mexico, he did so as a refugee. He was fleeing vicious gangs who demanded his participation or his life. He was fleeing hunger and poverty. He embarked on an epic adventure that could easily have cost him his life.

Manuel Casas is from a family of 12 children. There was not much work for his father in Guanajuato, Mexico. There were many nights when he went to bed hungry. By age 16, Casas was fighting for his place in a world with very few options. Mexican gangs were pushing him to participate.  Manuel didn’t like the violence or the bad acts Mexican toughs use to prey on the helpless poor. Yet, the gangs adopt territories. You join or you die.


Manuel Guerero CasasBeautiful for tourists, not so nice for the poor


You don’t say, “Hey I am out of the gang!” Casas told Immigrants2bfree in an exclusive interview Sunday. After coming to America, Casas has kept his distance from the gangs that wished to lead him down a dead end street in a country with few options for the poor.

With almost no options, Manuel decided to escape to America.  The route Manuel Guerra Casas took to cross the border is the same trip that cost more than 250 lives in the desert last year. The terrain is so barren not even poor Mexicans claim it for ranching or farming.  Plenty of men, women and children collapse on the rocky desert floor. Without water and food, and often lost, life slips from them.

Others are robbed by bandits and stripped naked. Like the Jews escaping Nazi Germany, immigrants often sew valuables into their garments, even their underwear, those who are fortunate enough to wear such an expensive item, that is.  The bandits demand everything down to shoes and calzones.   After holding up immigrant groups, the heartless robbers sometimes even violate the little girls before leaving.


manuel guerrero casasOver 250 people died in the desert crossing the border

Using black humor, one might snicker at the thought of fifty immigrants dashing across the border naked.  However, when you realize, without clothes there is no defense against the blazing sun and freezing nights. It can be a death sentence.  One Coyote finally got caught killing the travelers who had paid him for safe passage across “La frontera”. It was easier to shoot them. Years later, grieving mothers learned the fate their children suffered when the remains were found in a remote killing field. These are some of the dangers Casas faced when he fled Guanajuato, deep inside Mexico.

“We are almost there. We will be there tomorrow,” the coyote told the people.

The exhausted hikers fell off to sleep with dreams of food and jobs and family floating in their heads. Near the end of the next day someone asked one more time.

“How much further?”

“We are almost there! We will be there tomorrow.” The reply became the standard answer.


“There was not much food and the water was getting critical!”


On day four of a three-day trip, many were getting restless. There was not much food and the water was becoming critical. They pushed hard on day five, assured their hell would be over by nightfall.  By day six, agitation turned to fear. The food and water were gone. The Coyote had lied about a three-day trip.

By chance, the group found an old trailer. There were 12 Dr. Peppers inside.

“I never had a Dr. Pepper” Casas told me. “So this is what America tastes like. I love it!” He was a Dr. Pepper fan for many years.


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On the sixth night, Casas had a tiff with a buddy because the Coyote wanted to camp in the open.  It had been a difficult trip and Casas did not want it to end after so many days of hope and eternal walking. Casas told the Coyote he was going back to an abandoned cabin the group had passed down the trail.

Casas fell off to a deep sleep quickly. Around 12:00 p.m. he was awakened by voices outside the cabin. Dogs were barking! Someone shone a flashlight underneath the door. It was La Migra! The group had been discovered! They had come so far. Why did it have to end now?


“That is when I fell to my knees!”


“That is when I fell to my knees!” Casas told me. With tears running down his cheeks, the 16-year-old asked God for strength.

Casas said he is not sure how long he was on his knees in prayer. When he stood up, the dogs were gone. The flashlights and the voices started fading into the night.

Be careful what you wish for, they say. If his friends were arrested, Casas was alone in the wilderness.  There were no provisions and Casas didn’t even know what direction to go. The 16-year-old decided he would have to turn himself in or he would die. As he left the cabin, he heard someone whistle.

“Manuel! Manuel!” It was the friend Manuel had been annoyed with earlier in the night! When La Migra came, everyone ran, he was told. The group was re-forming nearby!


Stinging Quills and Yucca Spikes Slashed Through Their Pants


The coyote decided they must leave the smugglers’ trail and hike cross country. Stinging quills and yucca spikes sliced through their pants and cut their legs.  Several times they heard the clacking of a helicopter and fell onto their bellies in the prickly brush. On the seventh day the ragged party crawled from the desert and found the safe house in a Texas border city. The nightmare of the crossing was over.

Casas spent the first months of his life in the U.S., and his new love affair with Dr. Pepper, washing dishes in Texas. It is hard to imagine what a poor U.S. border town has that was not available in the Mexican countryside of his youth. Flush toilets. Electricity. A place to sleep. Plenty of food. Casas worked 7 days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day. His plan was to work two years, send money to mom and maybe save up for school, which is not free in Mexico.  Despite long hours, Casas wasn’t saving much money. At the suggestion of friends, he moved to Florida and had a chance encounter with a Catholic priest.

The church gave Casas a new direction. Manuel was told he needed to learn English and graduate from high school.

“My first days of high school were really hard.” Casas told immigrants2bfree. Other kids his age were graduating from high school at the same time Casas was entering. He had to complete four years of high school in two years and he spoke only rudimentary English.

“It was a big day when I passed my English exams!” a triumphant Casas proclaimed.

While in high school, Casas met a chaplain in the Marine Corp. who encouraged him in his studies.  Casas began to dream about serving in the Marines as a chaplain.

There have been some huge bumps along the way for Manuel Guerrero Casas, the deportation order being one of the biggest. Until Casas can clear his immigration status, not even the military is an option. If Casas marries a U.S. citizen he might qualify for an exception in the immigration law, but Catholic priests don’t marry.  People talk about “waiting in line.”  What they don’t realize is, for many immigrants, there is no line.  There are few exceptions in the law for Mexican youth.

Casas has been a leader for immigration reform, including volunteering with Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER). He also volunteered with students advocating for the Dream Act.

Under the Dream Act, if immigrant youth obtain a degree or serve in the military, if they don’t use public services including health care, if they pay out-of-state tuition rates, if they pass a background check and if they pay huge fines, which when totaled could add billions to the treasury, then they can apply as U.S. permanent residents after a ten-year period.  Without the Dream Act, Casas is not sure how he will remain in the U.S.


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Sadly, a conservative Senate ended efforts to pass the Dream Act in the 2010 lame duck session.

“You are wasting your time coming to my office” said Senator Lindsey Graham (R-GA) while on the Senate floor. Many students left the Capitol in tears.

Graham said until the border is secure he will not vote for the Dream Act. Yet, conservatives refuse to vote for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) which first seals the border and then resolves the problem of undocumented workers in the country.


“Time is running out for many youths!”


Time is running out for many youths waiting for immigration reform. At 10:30 this morning, Manuel Guerra Casas feared a judge would issue the final removal order that would bring his dream of becoming a Catholic priest and serving in the military to an end.

“I was saved by the computer,” Manuel exclaimed on his Facebook page. “The computer was down. They rescheduled my hearing.”

A 16-year-old boy who fled gangs in Guanajuato, Mexico wants his chance to live the American Dream. Whether or not he and thousands of immigrants get their dream depends upon the passage of legislation before a judge slams the gavel down for the last time.

Please support Manuel in his effort to remain in this country!  We must pass the Dream Act post haste!

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Posted in La-Proxima-Edición - The Next Show by admin on July 17th, 2011 at 6:47 am.

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