Sonia Nazario, the writer, found Enrique in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, in May 2000. She and Don Bartletti, the photographer, spent two weeks with him there and rejoined him at the end of his journey in North Carolina. Then, based on Nazario's extensive interviews with him in Mexico and during three visits to North Carolina, she and Bartletti retraced each step Enrique had taken, beginning at his home in Honduras.

Between May and September 2000, Nazario and Bartletti spent three months working their way north through Mexico just as Enrique had, riding the tops of seven freight trains and interviewing and photographing people Enrique had encountered, along with dozens of other children and adults making the same journey. Nazario and Bartletti walked around immigration checkpoints and hitchhiked with truckers, exactly as Enrique had. To retrace Enrique's steps, they traversed 13 of Mexico's 31 states.

Nazario conducted interviews in the United States, Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala with immigrant rights advocates, shelter workers, academics, medical workers, government officials, police officers and priests and nuns who minister to immigrants. At four INS detention centers in California and Texas and in two shelters for child migrants in Tijuana and Mexicali, Mexico, she interviewed youngsters who had made their way north on top of freight trains. She also consulted academic studies and books about immigration.

The Los Angeles Times has a strong preference for naming the subjects of its articles in full. It has done so with two members of Enrique's family, his girlfriend and a friend. But The Times has decided to identify Enrique, his mother, father and two sisters by publishing only their first names and to withhold the maternal or paternal name, or both, of six relatives as well as some details of Enrique's employment. A database review by Times researcher Nona Yates showed that publishing their full names would make Enrique readily identifiable to authorities. In 1998, the Raleigh, N.C., News and Observer profiled an illegal immigrant whom it fully identified by name and workplace. Authorities arrested the subject of the profile, four co-workers and a customer for being undocumented immigrants. The Times' decision in this instance is intended to allow Enrique and his family to live their lives as they would have had they not provided information for this story.

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