OAN’s Brooke Mallory
5:44 PM – Friday, December 29, 2023
One woman who spoke to CNN reporters claimed that she was attacked by criminals seeking money in her home country and that she has no desire to ever go back.
The woman, who left her native country of Honduras with her two children, says that she is an activist who has been forced into unemployment for criticizing her own nation’s government.
Thousands of undocumented immigrants arrived at a Texas shelter on Christmas Eve, having been released on parole by immigration officials. Since there were not enough resources at a handful of shelters for newcomers, many of them were still seen waiting outside, hoping for any possible openings.
The asylum-seeker, Silvia del Carmen Flores, 38, was seen sitting on the pavement with her 16-year-old daughter Yolani close by and her 3-year-old son Nikson on her lap. Flores told reporters that they had recently been granted parole following their asylum request, and that they were looking for a trip to San Antonio, Texas, where they might be allowed to stay at a larger facility.
According to Flores, they left Honduras on December 12th.
The three arrived in the Mexican city of Monterrey after passing through Guatemala and Mexico on buses and taxis. Flores also added that they took a flight to Piedras Negras, which is located over the border from Eagle Pass, with the remaining money that they had. At the Rio Grande, the family crossed the border alongside thousands of other asylum-seekers looking to make their way into the U.S.
Flores explained that, due to her family’s unfortunate financial circumstances, she had been considering leaving Honduras for a while now. Previously, her daughter Yolani had been abducted two months prior, and Flores was forced to pay the kidnappers a large sum in order to get her back. Flores also claimed that after that, she felt forced to leave and had heard from locals in her area that the U.S. border was no longer as strict as it once was regarding immigration.
“I don’t want to go back to Honduras. There’s too much corruption, crime, and things like that,” Yolani said.
Tens of thousands of asylum-seekers arrived at Eagle Pass in the last two weeks, including the Flores family.
However, overburdened U.S. institutions and agencies are being strained like never before by the spike in border crossings.
A Homeland Security official explained earlier this month that federal officials recorded an average of, at the very least, “over 9,600 interactions with migrants over a seven-day period” along the southern border of the United States in December. That figure is one of the greatest numbers ever documented in history.
Yet, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is still “in the thick of things.” An official who spoke to the press said that illegal crossings continue to persist and are encouraged by unscrupulous individuals who help migrants pass between ports of entry into the United States.
Marcelly Giraldo, a 33-year-old domestic worker from Medellín, Colombia, told CNN that her desire for a better life in the U.S. stemmed from a lack of opportunities in her own country. She stated that her primary driving force is her daughter, whom she says she had to leave behind along with her sister. Giraldo also mentioned that she intends to bring her children to the U.S. if her asylum request is granted.
Other asylum-seekers who spoke with reporters also mentioned that they had heard of a new provision in U.S. immigration law that made obtaining legal status much simpler than in the past.
“When I heard they were giving [undocumented immigrants] the benefit of being allowed into the country, I decided to make the trip. Otherwise, I would have never done it. I would have never taken the risk,” Giraldo said.
Additionally, Troy Miller, a senior official of U.S. Customs and Border Protection carrying out the commissioner’s duties, said in a statement released last week that many migrants “are often misled and victimized by the transnational criminal organizations. These smugglers are recklessly putting migrants into harm’s way: in remote locations across the border, onto the tops of trains, or into the water of the Rio Grande.”
Cuban nurse Milaidis Duarte Felipe, 30, said that she left her home country on October 27th with her sister and niece. According to Duarte Felipe, who previously spoke out against her country’s government and later faced political persecution as well as job loss, maintained that she was “forced to leave behind her 7-year-old son.” Duarte Felipe explained that they flew from Cuba to the Dominican Republic and finally to Managua, Nicaragua.
Then, the three women took a cab from the capital of Nicaragua to the border of Honduras, and from there they took a bus through Guatemala to the Suchiate River, which forms the border between Guatemala and Mexico, where they crossed on a raft.
She noted that her allotted entry into the U.S. has been “a great Christmas present,” particularly because she came on Christmas Eve and was picked up in Eagle Pass by her Houston-based family members who had already entered the U.S. previously.
“I’m going to spend [Christmas] with my family. I’m going to live in a free country. Where at least… I don’t know. I will live in a free country where citizens’ rights are respected, unlike where I used to live,” Duarte Felipe said.
As soon as Duarte Felipe is granted refuge, she asserted that she intends to bring her child to the United States as well.
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