News / USA

Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guaranteesi
X
Ramon Taylor
July 18, 2014 8:55 PM
Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Ramon Taylor

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol - with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.

“On June 15th, we received a call that the body was found in the area of Patricia Perez in Nopal street in La Joya ... somewhere in the brush area,” said Jose Rodriguez, a law enforcement officer with the Hidalgo County Sheriff's office.

Jose Castellano, who found the Guatemalan boy's body, said, “We saw the horse jumping and everything, and kicking. I told my brother, why the horse is kicking and everything, and he said ‘I don’t know.’ So the first thing we do, we just got to the horse and then we saw the body...”

All too common

Castellano described seeing the body of Gilberto Ramos Juárez - an 11-year old undocumented immigrant from Guatemala - partially decomposed in the Texas summer heat.  

Gilberto's story is a common one - of migrants trying to escape the hardships of their countries to build a more stable future in the United States. He had hoped to find work so he could give his mother back home a better life.

Taking weeks, even months, the trek across the vast Mexican countryside and into the United States is extremely dangerous, and comes with high risk.

For those trying to reach the border towns in “el norte” - the North, as it is often called - extreme weather is only one hazard they are likely to encounter.

It's common for the so-called “coyotes" -  criminals who engage in human smuggling - to sexually assault, rob, or kidnap their clients - or force them to smuggle drugs for the Mexican cartels.

'Evil, wicked'

Carl Henderson, a former Border Patrol agent, said, “Some of them think they’re hiring a smuggler only to find out that they’re now being trafficked into sexual slavery or into work slavery on these marijuana farms for some of the drug cartels. These people that are smuggling you are some of the most evil, wicked people in Mexico, and probably in the world today. These are people who decapitate, maim and murder people by the thousands.”

Despite these dangers, the number of undocumented children and families crossing into the United States is on the rise. One federal agency (U.S. Executive Office for Immigration Review) has reported a backlog of more than 375,000 individual cases in 2014. Most of those are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador - countries where gang and drug violence is on the rise. These issues, combined with a U.S. law designed to protect children at risk of sex trafficking, have contributed to the large influx.

One of the most popular entry points, and closest geographically to Central America, is in the Rio Grande Valley, where the number of migrant crossings in 2014 has tripled since 2010.

Violent crime

Many of them come out of fear.

Eddy, a Guatemalan immigrant, said, “Crime, drug trafficking, stolen children... you are always in fear that they [the "coyotes"] will enter and take your kids right out of school without any problems because of the lack of security. This is a fear we have every day.”

Alma, a Honduran immigrant, said, “I think that with less crime and more work, there wouldn’t be a need to move. We don’t move as much for economic reasons as much as crime, because even if the criminals don’t attack me, they will harm my family.”

For those who do make it across the desert, their fate may depend on whether Congress and the president can agree on how to handle the situation. Ultimately, they could be deported, so the dangerous journey could have been for nothing.

 

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bigrob from: Baltimore, MD
July 20, 2014 2:19 PM
YEAH RIGHT! Undocumented American's... Undocumented Immigrant's.. Undocumented Citizens. That's NOTHING BUT TOTAL BS!... They are Illegal Immigrant's and trying to change a word to make it seem like less an issue only goes to show it's a real issue... They are breaking the law and they should be sent back to where they came from AT THEIR EXPENSE!. SIMPLE!. They will stop trying to cross the border if they have to pay for getting back home every time. Or do jail time in their country because the US will bill Mexico for it if they can't pay. That's the one way it will send a message to not come here unless you do it the correct legal way!. We have enough free rider's here and we have no money left to spend.. Sorry but our border's are closed and it's time they start enforcing these law's!. Otherwise why not step up to the next level.. Unlicensed Pharmacist & House Call Charity Collector Agent's (The crook's break into you home and take what they want so they can eat and have some walking around money) Yea let's do that.. Because why not.. We are all about being PC right.. And not hurting anyone's feelings.. This country has turned into nothing but a joke!. And don't get me wrong I love my country but the people in charge are breaking this country into tiny bit's and flushing them down the crapper! We need to get rid of every single idiot in office and pull them out from under their feet and replace them with real people with real understanding and know's what it's like and care's about other's not how much money and power they can get while they are in office.... And their perk pack's... I am sick of this.. They need to flush 90% of the idiot's in office. There are a few in there that seem to have an idea of what need's to be done. But because 90% of them are idiot's 90% of the thing's that go on in this country will be STUPID!!!!.... So stop playing game's and adding to the BS that is already way past the breaking point and call them what they really are. CRIMINAL'S!!! THEY ARE BREAKING THE LAW AND GETTING REWARDED FOR IT!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs