'I felt desperate': Journey from Ecuador to Minnesota marked by poverty, exploitation and hope

Fort Snelling immigration court sees 12-fold surge in Ecuadorian cases since 2018


August 3, 2023

Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

Patricia weeps as she shares about the journey she made leaving her children and coming to Minnesota.

Patricia fled Ecuador and trekked through the jungle, crossed eight countries, spent several days in immigration detention near San Diego and took a four-hour flight to Minneapolis. By the time she walked out of the airport this spring, the mother of three was crying. She missed her children.

"Tranquila," said the Ecuadorian man who came to pick up Patricia. "Don't worry. Everything's going to be all right."

He hugged her, and Patricia, 39, settled into the man's SUV with a family she had met weeks earlier at a bus stop in Ecuador. At a sprawling house in southeast Minneapolis, he showed her to a room where two other migrants shared a mattress. Rent was $800 each.



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