“My mom’s story is like a fairy tale,” the boy said before he fell asleep on the living room sofa. His mother calls him her little angel. They live together in an unpainted shack at the back of a dirt cul-de-sac among trailers and birds of paradise on the outskirts of Houston. Sunshine filtered through the window. The light was at once welcome and bitter, because the rain had only just lifted after Hurricane Harvey in September and much of the city was still flooded.
Water had not forced them out of the house, and the boy’s mother, a 42-year-old undocumented woman who requested anonymity for fear of being deported, thanked God aloud; had the floods come, she didn’t know where they would have gone. She had already been deported to Honduras once before and lost her asylum case upon returning to Houston three years ago. Every time she sees someone in uniform she says she thinks she might never see her son again. “Recently, a cop stopped me, and I felt the life leaving me,” she said. “I cried, I cried.” The officer let her go without inspection. Her husband, from Veracruz, Mexico, is also undocumented. He was out working on waterlogged houses..."