TIJUANA, MEXICO — Alma Tucker discovered what her lifework would be when she was about to retire. She had been working for the Mexican Consulate’s Department of Protection in San Diego when she was called in to be an interpreter. The assignment involved a teenage girl who had been discovered trying to cross into the United States and brought to a local hospital.
“One of the assignments I had was to see patients in hospitals,” Ms. Tucker says. “Some were undocumented migrants.” She would act as an interpreter and help them find family members in Mexico.
This time, it was a 14-year-old girl, who spoke no English and had been crying for her mother. “It was difficult for her because nobody spoke Spanish, and when I arrived I found she was being sexually exploited” by a smuggler, Tucker says.