Central American immigrants explain influx of children crossing the border

By Stephanie Claytor

Published 07/21 2014 07:21PM

Updated 07/21 2014 07:25PM

Texas is deploying up to a thousand National Guardsman along the Mexican border in order to deal with the recent influx of immigrants from Central America.


NBC 6 reached out to several immigrants from Guatemala and El Salvador. They said the main reason children are crossing the border alone is because they want to reunite with their parents, who are already living in the United States.


Rehina Velasquez has been there. The Guatemalan national crossed the border illegally in 2007. She now faces deportation, for being caught driving without a license. She’s been in deportation procedures for four years, and said she doesn’t worry about it much.


The young mother said she came to the United States because there were no jobs, no education, and lots of crime in Guatemala. During the journey, she said there were days she walked through the dessert without food or water, and she feared for her life. She also feared being kidnapped or running into Los Zetas, the cartel. But she said the risk was worth it. Now, working as a cook, she’s able to take care of her five year son and live comfortably in the United States.  If she’s deported, she plans to return promptly and she believes it will be easier since she already knows the route. She said that’s the only option she has for raising her American son and giving him a good future.


Daisy Alvarado is another undocumented immigrant living in Bossier City. The El Salvadorean came to the US in 2008. She regrets leaving behind her teenage son behind to live with his father. She said his father got a job and wasn’t taking care of him. That led to her son getting involved in gangs, and a year ago, losing his eye. She said she doesn’t want this to happen to another family and believes the Central American children are crossing the border to be reunited with their families. She hopes the American government will allow them to stay, since they survived the treacherous journey.


Officials with the State Fair of Louisiana said it’s highly unlikely immigrant children will be housed at the Hirsch Coliseum. Chris Giordano, the President, received a call from the State Fair Association, asking if the coliseum could shelter the detainees. He said he never heard anything after that, and has yet to hear from Homeland Security. Since the fairgrounds has booked events in August at the coliseum, he doesn’t expect the immigrants to be temporarily housed there.


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