The Refugee Caravan

Photo courtesy of Misha Keyvanfar

By MISHA KEYVANFAR | Junior Reporter

Currently there is a refugee caravan where people from the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras), where their lives are in danger, have traveled for days looking for safety in the U.S.A. In an interview with Pasquale Lombardo, an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles, I learned more details about the caravan that had arrived just two hours away from us.

Pasquale and a group of lawyers went to Tijuana, Mexico, and got to legally observe, talk and help people prepare for their credible fear interview, which determines if they can enter the U.S. to have an asylum interview.

When I talked to Pasquale, I learned about a story of a girl from Guatemala. She had been a victim of family violence. Her father had been slapping, pushing, punching and kicking her mom.

When he got drunk it even got worse. Although he would apologize, and her mother would forgive him, he still never stopped. This went on for a long time and the girl felt scared and unsafe.

There was no way to get help and protection. The mom and the girl finally decided to escape the father without him knowing and join the refugee caravan.

Others in the caravan were escaping threats and violence from gangs. Pasquale also told me about a woman who was with her brother, who had been threatened by a powerful and violent gang to join them.

They told him that if he didn’t join, they would kill his family. He said “sure,” but instead he went home and warned his sister and niece to pack up and leave because he didn’t want them to be hurt.

There was no other way of staying safe because he felt the police were too weak and corrupt. They ran away.

Another group of people Pasquale told me about was a group of transgender people that were being abused. LGBT rights do not exist in the Northern Triangle.

Pasquale said that the people traveled by foot or bus or on top of trains. One of the trains is called “the beast,” or the train of death.

Pasquale told me that nobody was allowed to enter the U.S. on the first day the caravan reached the border. On the second day, very few people were allowed to enter because they passed their first interview.

As you can see the situation is very complicated. People are escaping many different and serious problems. Many people want to come to the U.S. because life is so much better and safer here. There are more human rights.

Although we have problems here too, we are lucky to be here.