In “The Journey,” a comic created by illustrator and designer Pablo Leon for Rewire, we meet Linda (a pseudonym), who at 11 years old is migrating alone from Guatemala to join her parents in an unfamiliar country. Linda is simply another “unaccompanied alien child,” a youth migrating without their family, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“I want people to understand that [migration] is not that simple. There are so many variables, like … whatever political situation the country they’re coming from is in. Crossing [without authorization] isn’t easy at all, but it’s a more immediate solution rather than waiting years just to get turned down,” said Leon, whose parents and other family members migrated to the United States from Guatemala.
In today’s political climate where anti-immigrant hate speech is increasingly normalized, Linda’s story is needed, Leon explained to Rewire. “This is the best time to put these particular narratives out there, [to help] people understand that things aren’t so simple,” Leon said. “It’s not a happy story, and comics that tell similar narratives can help break down these walls and allow readers to empathize.”
Through heart-wrenching illustrations and Linda’s internal monologue, Leon provides a rare, nuanced look at one person’s journey.
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Part I: The Crossing
Part II: Captive
Part III: Progress and Change