Hope for Deported Maryland Brothers to Continue American Education

There's new hope for two Maryland brothers deported to El Salvador in August. The young men are on the move once again, preparing to head to an American university in Nicaragua.

"It's a great opportunity," said Fatima Claros, the boys' sister who still lives in Maryland and has been working to bring her brothers back since their deportation on Aug. 2.

The family learned both brothers have received financial aid to continue their education at the Keiser University campus in Nicaragua. They also plan to play soccer for the school.

According to the Florida-based university's website, it offers U.S. degrees at its overseas campuses.

Fatima Claros said the family is excited to at least have something positive happen for the boys. Since their deportation, the chances of legally coming back to the U.S. are almost non-existent.

Lizandro and Diego Claros gained widespread support throughout Montgomery County's soccer community after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detained them following a check-in in late July.

Lizandro Claros, 19, was planning to start college in North Carolina on a soccer scholarship. Instead, the brothers have spent the last month living with relatives in a small town in El Salvador.

"It's sad what is happening," said Fatima Claros. "They don't feel good over there. They get bored, because they're not doing anything. And they're scared to go out."

Fatima Claros admitted her brothers entered the United States illegally in 2009, at ages 10 and 13. Their parents and older siblings were already in the U.S. The brothers have never been in trouble, and their sister said the whole family considered Maryland as their home.

"They don't even know what's the name of the president when they got there," said Fatima Claros. "They want to be back here, because they miss what they have here. They have family, friends."

The brothers graduated from Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland. When word of their detention spread, teammates, coaches and their families rallied to try to keep the boys here, to no avail.

Fearing violence and lack of opportunity in El Salvador, the family has been working on finding legal ways to bring them back to the U.S.

"My heart is broken. I don't know how to explain this pain. I miss seeing my brothers," said Fatima Claros.

She's optimistic about the new chance an American school has given them. She said they are planning to travel to Nicaragua within days to begin their studies.

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