News / Americas

Central American Border-crossers Both Pushed, Drawn to US

Central American Border-crossers Both Pushed, Drawn to USi
X
August 11, 2014 9:55 PM
The tens of thousands of Central Americans who have crossed over the border in south Texas seeking asylum over the past year left their homelands to escape poverty and violence. But they also have been drawn to the United States by the idea that they would be allowed to stay. Even though many of them, in fact, face deportation after their expensive, difficult and dangerous journey, they say they had no choice but to try. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more in this report.
Greg Flakus

The tens of thousands of Central Americans who have crossed over the border in south Texas seeking asylum over the past year left their homelands to escape poverty and violence.  But they also have been drawn to the United States by the idea that they would be allowed to stay.  Even though many of them, in fact, face deportation after their expensive, difficult and dangerous journey, they say they had no choice but to try.

A man, who calls himself Eddy, fled his hometown in Guatemala with his three-year-old daughter in fear for their lives.

“There is a lot of crime, drug trafficking and kidnapping of children. The drug traffickers have a lot of power,” he said.

The same fear drove Alma Ciro and her two children from their home in crime-plagued Honduras.

“It is an ugly situation.  There is crime, a lot of unemployment because there are few employers, and there are men who chase the girls leaving school. This happened to my daughter,” she said.

Her daughter made it home, Ciro said, but some girls have been abducted, abused and murdered.

The ordeal

Alma Ciro said it took her more than a month to travel through Mexico to the U.S. border, often hungry and subjected to harassment from those who prey on immigrants.

“They take money from people.  It is always about money. They take the little money people have with them,” she said.

Coming up from Guatemala through Mexico, Eddy said so many people demanded money that he arrived at the border with practically nothing.

“In Mexico, they are always swindling you, but the worst part was crossing the river because I was afraid my little girl would drown,” said Eddy.

Such stories are all too familiar to Hipolito Acosta, a former U.S. immigration special agent.

“Your heart goes out to them, because you can only imagine what they have gone through,” he said.

Acosta went through some hardships himself, going undercover as an immigrant to gather evidence against smugglers.

“I have ridden in the back of a U-Haul [truck] with a group of Mexican illegal aliens that entered the country being smuggled by smugglers across the Rio Grande River and actually I almost drowned,” he recalled.

Acosta said the recent influx of Central American immigrants is part of a much longer story.

“Poverty and violence have been a condition in Central American countries for decades; it is nothing new,” said Acosta.

He believes more are coming now because of the current U.S. policy of processing asylum seekers and then releasing them while they await their court date.

But Alma Ciro said she took the risky journey to protect her two children - adding she would voluntarily return to Honduras if things change.

“We need two things, we need more work and less crime,” said Ciro.

Solving those problems will take a long time however, so the influx at the border is likely to continue.

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

At Least 7 Dead in Mexico Maternity Hospital Blast

Mayor says dozens of people, including 22 children, were also injured when gas tank truck explodes outside building
More

HRW: Security Measures Erode Human Rights Worldwide

New Human Rights Watch report cites Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, Israel and the United States among nations using security concerns to justify rights violations
More

Chilean MPs Approve Measure Allowing Civil Unions

Bill will give many legal rights afforded to married couples to about two million more Chileans - mostly unmarried heterosexuals but also gay couples
More

Don't Meddle in Our Politics, Cuba's Leader Warns US

Fomenting opposition to Cuba's government will undermine efforts at normalizing bilateral relations, he says at summit in Costa Rica
More

Owner of Gun That Killed Argentine Prosecutor Emerges From Hiding

Diego Lagomarsino says he lent firearm for protection to Alberto Nisman, who was probing 1994 bombing of Buenos Aires Jewish community center
More

Rights Group: MPs in Dozens of Countries Face Abuse

Inter-Parliamentary Union rights committee reports more than 300 lawmakers in 40 countries subject to dangers, including death
More