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This article is part of a series and ongoing reporting on Latinx communities in North Carolina. Click here to read more.


What is the story you tell yourself about migrants to our state, our nation? Is it shaped by our lore around the American dream and the land of plenty?

Ricky Hurtado, the co-founder of LatinxEd, knows only North Carolina as home. He is the son of immigrants. Immigrants, he says, “who fled a civil war, not to choose the American dream, but to escape a nightmare.”

The journey to America is too often dangerous and scary.

About a year ago, on June 17, 2019, I visited Casa Tochan — a shelter for adult, male migrants in Mexico City — with teachers from across North Carolina.

1,789 miles. 28 days. Listen to this migrant’s story. In his own words. Unedited.

For me, and for many of the teachers on the trip, taking 30 minutes and listening to this story changed our perceptions about immigration. It helped us understand that the “one story” we tell ourselves about immigration and the American dream is for too many not the story at all.

Behind the Story

Mebane Rash wrote this article and recorded the migrant’s story. Carol Bono translated and produced the video.

Mebane Rash

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC and the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research.

Carol Bono

Carol Bono is a bilingual multimedia reporter for EducationNC with a focus on ESL and Latinx issues.