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Central American migrants seeking asylum; waiting outside Nogales port

Posted at 4:13 PM, May 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-18 20:15:21-04

For several days, a group of Central American migrants have slept just feet away from the United States in Nogales, Sonora, on the Mexican side of the port of entry. The majority of them come from different parts of Guatemala, and they've traveled more than 2,000 miles, hoping United States will grant them asylum.

Among them is Edwin Estuado, who arrived at the border with his young daughter. It took them 8 days to get to Nogales from their town in Guatemala. Along the way, Estuado says they had to find money to pay people to give them rides. But the dangers of the lengthy journey were well worth the chance at escaping where they came from, he says. 

Gang violence and criminals are in charge of their town in Guatemala, he says. Because of this, they live in constant fear, and fall deeper into poverty. They are robbed, taken advantage of, and don't have enough to live, he says.

Everything considered, Estuado says all he wants is for his family, and his daughter, to have a future.

While they wait alongside many other families, who never knew each other beforehand, some Mexican citizens and American citizens are trying to help them out.

"We're here to provide food, provide phone calls, and just to provide moral support to them as well during this difficult time," Father Sean Carroll said.

Carroll is the Executive Director for the Kino Border Initiative. After listening to some of their stories and learning about what they're hoping to escape, he wanted to do whatever he could to show them support.

"Many have been beaten, they've been robbed, they've been assaulted, they've been threatened. It's just very hard to see, and listen to. Yet we're here, doing what we can, and we hope it's a support for the people who are here," Carroll said. "They're willing to do whatever it takes so that their families are safe, and they have a dignified life."

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is processing these people. However, the process of seeking asylum takes time, which is why many of these people have spent a few days staying there. 

CBP gave KGUN9 this statement:

"Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processes undocumented persons as expeditiously as possible without negating the agency's overall mission, or compromising the safety of individuals within our custody.  The number of inadmissible individuals CBP is able to process varies based upon case complexity; available resources; medical needs; translation requirements; holding/detention space; overall port volume; and ongoing enforcement actions."

While it's difficult staying outside, relying on others for basic necessities of life, Estuado's eyes still look forward, just at the chance of being able to give his daughter a better life. But he knows, there's no guarantee that will happen.