A home, but for how long?

For 19 years, the US government had given Patricia Carbajal permission to stay in this country, to work, to put down roots. For 19 years, administration after administration extended Temporary Protected Status for Honduras after the destruction wrought by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 was compounded by crippling poverty, destabilizing corruption, and violence so pervasive that the murder rate in Honduras is now among the highest in the world. After 19 years, Patricia’s status had long ago stopped feeling temporary. But, now, in a moment, everything could change. Now, the Trump administration has canceled the program that had allowed her to create a life as a mother, a construction worker, a budding activist. Over seven months, she watched as the federal government rescinded Temporary Protected Status for country after country, stripping the legal right to live and work in the United States from some 250,000 people who were expected to renew their status. South Sudan. Nicaragua. Haiti. El Salvador. Nepal. She was about to learn that Honduras would be next.
Patricia Carbajal fled Honduras 19 years ago and has been living in the United States legally under Temporary Protected Status, working, paying taxes, and passing a criminal background check every 18 months. A number of countries have had their TPS status revoked. On the day of the announcement of the future of the Honduras program, she anxiously hugged her 4-year-old daughter, Camila, in their kitchen. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
As the end of the day drew near, Patricia carried Camila up the street that leads from the park back to their apartment. A single mother who works full time, Patricia devotes almost all of her free time to her daughter. She wonders what might happen if she were deported? What would their life look like in Honduras? Where would they live and what would she do for a job? (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Patricia started to break down as Univision announced that the Temporary Protected Status that has allowed her to reside in the United State legally for 19 years has been revoked. The Trump administration has given all TPS holders from Honduras 18 months to pack their things and self deport. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
A day before the TPS decision came down, Patricia met with her lawyer Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal and discussed her fears about what will happen with TPS for Hondurans. She decided that if Trump cancels TPS, she will join Espinoza-Madrigal’s lawsuit, Centro Presente v. Trump, as a plaintiff challenging the termination of TPS. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Patricia bent down to say goodbye to her daughter, Camila, as she dropped her off with her godmother’s mother, Tete, before a meeting with her lawyer. Tete has agreed to be the emergency caregiver for Camila in the event that Patricia is unexpectedly deported. If the worst were to happen, Tete would take Camila until they could find a way to reunite her with her mother in Honduras. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
In quiet moments, Patricia often turns to her phone where her feed is constantly full of posts depicting the violence in Honduras. Returning to Honduras feels like a death sentence to Patricia. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Patricia kneeled down to face Camila on the stairs as she talked to her about the importance of being kind to others. Camila has been uneasy of late, and plagued by bad dreams. Patricia has trouble sleeping, too. Her mind races, thinking about what will happen if she’s ordered out of the country. She will not leave Camila behind. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Camila looked out the window as the TV news announced that her mother’s TPS has been taken away. The Trump administration has given all TPS holders from Honduras 18 months to pack their things and self deport. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Patricia bent down to kiss her daughter, Camila, as they took part in a rally at the State House held to protest the Trump administration’s decision to end TPS from Honduras. When Patricia took her turn at the microphone, she spoke to the crowd from the heart, telling them an abbreviated version of her story: That she is an immigrant here legally, not a criminal. That she is a single mother who works construction to provide for her daughter. That she loves this country. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
At 4:41am Patricia gently covers Camila in a blanket so that she won’t wake up, and carries her to the car to drop her at the baby sitter’s house before she heads off to work. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Patricia pulled out her phone as she ate dinner. Her Facebook feed was full of videos of the police and military tear-gassing student protesters and gunmen robbing shopkeepers. News stories about parched fields withering in a drought because corrupt government officials took the money intended for irrigation. There are pictures of unidentified corpses covered by sheets in fields and of a pastor who died after being attacked while he preached. The posts tell her that a woman is killed in Honduras every 16 hours. The violence is exacted by gangs, or by a government that aggressively suppresses political opposition, imprisons dissidents, and imposes vigilante-style justice against suspected gang members. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
As rain fell Patricia peered out the window to check on Camila, who was next door playing with her neighbor’s son. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Patricia gathered her work gear and lunch as she made her way to the construction site where she works. Work is one of the few places where Patricia can clear her mind of her worries, where she simply must focus on the task at hand. Doing excavation work, digging ditches, laying pipes, clearing debris, might be grueling and dangerous, but the money she earns allows her to provide for her only child. A friend helped Patricia get into her union construction job, which she started 15 days after giving birth. “You have no idea how thankful I am because this job gives me everything I need,” she said. She works as much as she can, usually 10 hours a day, six days a week. But she recently had surgery, and only worked eight-hour shifts five days a week while she healed. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Camila skated toward her mom as she cheered her on at Revere Beach. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Patricia waited in line to renew her Honduran passport at the Honduran Consulate in New York City. It was one of many things on Patricia’s worst case scenario to-do list. She must also make sure that Camila has dual citizenship with Honduras, authorize a temporary caregiver for Camila, and coordinate with her doctor and school. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Tete started singing Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” and she and Patricia threw their arms in the air for Camila as they got to the finale. They had come to New York to renew Patricia’s passport at the Honduran Consulate, which took hours but Patricia was determined to show Camila Times Square and give her a taste of the Big Apple before they left. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Camila ran ahead of her mom at Breakheart Reservation as the pair tried to balance on the painted line during a hike together. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
After she put her daughter to bed Patricia called her cousin, Merlin, a truck driver in Texas who also has TPS. The moments just after she puts Camila to bed are the worst. The house is quiet and Patricia’s anxiety, fueled by what she calls “the ‘if’ in my life,” takes hold. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Patricia kissed Camila as she lay in the bed they share in their rented apartment. “Mami, I want to snuggle with you,” Camila said almost in a whisper. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Patricia stood at the doorway keeping a watchful eye on Camila as she played with a neighbor’s child. It’s hard for Patricia not to think about the many opportunities her daughter has in the United States that would be out of reach in Honduras, where, in 2013, children only attended school for seven and a half years on average. Children in Honduras also are at daily risk from random and targeted criminal threats. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
After a full day of work, Patricia rested her head on the steering wheel for a moment after picking up Camila from the baby sitter. Since the TPS decision has come down, Patricia has been plagued by questions and what-ifs. Will immigration agents kick in her front door and drag her out in handcuffs? Will they come get her at work? If they do, what about her daughter? Here in the US she has a life. Here, she is free. Here, she is home. But for how long? (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
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