Separated from her mother at the border, North Salem junior advocates for other homeless teens

When Ana Mariscal went with her mother to Tijuana over Christmas to visit family, she never imagined she’d be making the return journey alone.

But just after New Year’s Day 2018, Mariscal found herself on a bus bound for Salem with no money and nowhere to live.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials stopped her mom, who had a valid tourist visa, from crossing back into the U.S., saying she’d been working illegally. Mariscal, then a sophomore, and her mother agreed it was best for the teen to continue her schooling in Salem, even if it meant being on her own.

She called her North Salem High School JROTC instructor, Ret. Lt. Col. Dwight Morse, to let him know why she was late coming back from winter break.

“It was a really, really scary experience,” she said.

Mariscal is one of nearly 1

Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.