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FEATURE The Mouths of Babes PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALAN POGUE TEXT BY JAKE BERNSTEIN 0 n May 26, 17-year-old Elvin Alexander Nunez Padilla and his father Santiago Nunez Rivera deserted their small town in Honduras and headed for Texas. They left behind Elvin’s moth er and two sisters. There simply isn’t any work to be found where he lives, Elvin explains. “The only way we could move forward was by coming [here];’ he says matter-of-factly. After a harrowing journey that included a shakedown by the Mexican Judicial police, who robbed States on June 21. Fifteen minutes later the Immigration and Naturalization Service caught them. The INS separated Elvin and his father, sending the boy to a juvenile detention center in Los Fresnos. The boy hasn’t seen or spoken with his father since that day. Elvin’s lawyer does not know where Santiago Rivera was sent. At the juvenile facility, Elvin was treated like the kid he is. He took educational classes including English, played sports outside, and wore regular clothes. Five days after arriving, his teacher took Elvin and three other kids to the dentist. The dentist exam 4 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9/13/02