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

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years 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.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs