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Child Star Seeks Refuge

February 24, 2011

Documentary’s Child “Star”
Gets Asylum in the U.S.

18,000 try each year – but most are sent back 

The acclaimed documentary film, Which Way Home drew widespread attention to the dangers confronting children who attempt to get to the United States by hitching rides on freight trains through Mexico – hazards including assault and rape, as well as  traumatic amputation and death. Directed by Rebecca Cammisa, the film won an Emmy, and was nominated for an Oscar.
            The film’s “star,” Kevin Casasola, an engaging 14-year-old at the time, was captured by border agents, and deported back to Honduras. Recently, however, as reported by Julia Preston in the New York Times of February 21, Kevin risked the two-month journey again – with the same result: capture and detention. But this time, with help from Raed Gonzalez, an attorney recruited by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, he applied for and was granted asylum. Thumbs up for Kevin, but it’s important for readers to know that his case is an exception. As Preston notes, “Border Patrol figures show that agents detained about 18,000 unaccompanied children crossing illegally into the United States in 2009. Most were sent back. Mr. Gonzalez said successful asylum claims like Kevin Casasola’s were rare.” (Kevin at left in top photo from Which Way Home; the bottom photo is from USCRI.)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Claudia Baez permalink
    May 20, 2011 9:45 PM

    Yay! So glad Kevin found a way to live in the US legally at last.

    He’s a good kid with a big heart and did not deserve to be around his abusive stepfather.

    I hope he is able to achieve all his goals and help his family in Honduras.

  2. Lauren permalink
    June 17, 2011 12:01 AM

    Is Kevin looking for a family or any help? Any way to contact him? I would be very interested in adopting, I have fallen head over heals for this child 🙂 Please email me at with any way to help or possible talk about taking kevin in from foster care?

    • June 17, 2011 11:31 AM

      Dear Lauren —

      That’s a kind thought. My blog post on Kevin’s situation was written from press accounts, and I am not in direct contact with him. However, I am reasonably sure that he has many friends working to help him get established in the United States, In any case, as a matter of policy, I would not feel comfortable giving out contact information about anyone mentioned in my blog unless I had their express permission to do so.

      As I discussed in the post, there are many thousands of refugee and immigrant children arriving in the U.S. each year in need of assistance. I would suggest that you contact the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI — the link is in my blog post — for ways you may be able to help.

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