When You Can’t Go Forward and You Can’t Go Back: Talking to the Women of the Migrant Caravan
By Anna Silman and Sarah McVeigh
DEC. 12, 2018
[Back in December] reporter and producer Sarah McVeigh visited Tijuana, where migrants are waiting in hopes of gaining access to the United States. In a large, makeshift camp on a concrete lot, thousands of people had set up tents or were sheltering under tarps, waiting in an uncertain state of bureaucratic limbo. Upon completing this harrowing journey, on foot and on the back of freight trucks, migrants must begin the convoluted process of applying for asylum. Because of the large number of people seeking entry into the United States, a limited number of applications are processed each day, and would-be asylum seekers are told to take numbers and wait. Most will have to wait weeks or months for their cases to be heard. And even then, their fate remains uncertain: Under Trump, the rules have changed, making it much harder to qualify for asylum even with valid claims of persecution. But the women the Cut spoke to remain hopeful about being allowed to enter the U.S. and attain better lives for themselves and their children.
Quoting Sonia, 53, from Honduras:
I had never left my country, and I never imagined living these dangerous days that we have lived. You can see how God is with us, even though so many horrible things have happened on this journey. All of this is for my son. Six months ago [gangs] killed my nephew, and I didn’t want to live with what my sister had to go through. I would prefer to see him suffer here than end up in a bag or a canal.
They gave me a little number — I’m getting closer to be able to go in. They say you have to show proof that what you are saying is true, and I have my police report that I filed a few days before the caravan. I hope to God that Trump listens to us. It’s not that we want to leave home; it’s because of the criminals. And it’s not because of the poverty because there is poverty in the whole world, but the crime that doesn’t even let you sleep, the crime that scares me and makes me nervous.
I pray to God that my boy can study, and I can clean or care for children or whatever I have to do so he can be someone in life, that he learns the English language. I will do whatever is necessary; I will do anything so we don’t die of hunger. All over, you can find work. We all deserve a chance. He should give us an opportunity as human beings. We need Donald Trump to listen, and he needs to be a human being.