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Anahi Castro is the name of one of hundreds of Mexican women who have crossed the Rio Grande in 2019. We first met Anahi on March 27 during a visit to the Holding Institute, a homeless shelter in Laredo, Texas, where she, along with dozens of refugees sat in limbo and anxiously awaited to hear from their relatives and loved ones. Anahi said she came to the United States fleeing extortionists and thugs. “I came here to save my life.”


She arrived at the Holding center with a story all too common in Laredo. She had been kidnapped at the border and imprisoned for 15 days, separated from her family. After paying her ransom, she crossed the Rio Grande only to be detained by ICE agents and sent to a detention center dubbed the “hielera”— the freezer. There, she endured weeks of inhumane treatment and sleepless nights as she worried about the loved ones she had traveled with.


Still, Anahi considers herself lucky. “At least I wasn’t raped, and at least I was able to reunite with my brother who traveled with me,” she told us, “but I left everything behind in Mexico: a career as a dental surgeon, a family, a future...I left everything behind and lost everything just to save my life.” Remaining in Mexico would have resulted in continued extortion and possibly death.


Currently, Anahi finds herself in New Jersey working from 9am to 12am at an Italian restaurant, sharing a couch with her brother. Most of her earnings go towards paying the debt she accrued from her kidnapping which totaled $12,000. “I was fortunate that my relatives in Mexico managed to gather enough money to release my brother and I. Coming up short of what the kidnappers ‘requested’ would have certainly led to my death. Kidnappers execute those that can’t pay.” She also has also incurred substantial legal fees as she awaits her asylum hearing.


Anahi’s story reminds us that the so-called “border crisis” is a humanitarian crisis, one that goes beyond politics, and one that begs us to consider individual lives caught up in all this. Anahi would never directly ask for help, noting that there are people worse off than she is, but she is our friend and like anyone going through a hard time, she could use some support. With her blessing, we are asking for donations to pay her kidnapping debts and legal fees in order to help her have a chance to get settled in the United States. Please consider helping our friend.


Thank you.

- Juan, Julian & Diego 

contact nonboyATbrown(dot)edu to make a direct donation via Venmo, check, PayPal or bank transfer.


This summer, 100% of No-No Boy earnings will go to Anahi's debts. If you are able to make a substantial donation of $500 or more, please contact Julian directly and he will be happy to send autographed Vinyl or CDs, unreleased songs, perform a private house concert when he's next on tour, or write a song based on any history or family story you have. 

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