Many of the thousands of migrants waiting to claim asylum are realizing their dream to live in America may be a tougher road than they imagined, especially following Sunday’s clash at the border, involving a group of migrants and U.S. officials.
Conditions are horrid in one camp in the border city of Tijuana, Mexico, where people have been living in tents for weeks in a lot that once was a baseball complex. Many of them dream of starting a new live in the U.S., but those dreams are fading.
Maria Elena Reyes waited in line for hours, hoping a volunteer may have a clean shirt. For her, these living conditions, and even the month-long journey from Honduras, all seemed worth it to get to the border. But that’s when she says she had hope of finding asylum in America.
“To look for a better life, to help my grandchildren who are in Honduras and my daughters, and for myself,” Reyes says.
But like others at the camp, her optimism seems to fade with each passing day in the tent city, especially after what happened Sunday, when U.S. border agents used tear gas on a group of migrants.
“I would say after that incident, which was really bad, a lot of doors closed,” Reyes says.
Already worn out from the long journey, many of these migrants are now fearful of the US, scared of what could happen at the border, even if they apply for asylum the legal way.
Sarahi Nunes and her 3-year-old daughter, Genesis, thought getting into the US would be easier, but knowing there’s a months-long wait just for an official asylum appointment, makes her doubt whether she'll ever obtain her American dream.
“Yes, at first, that was the plan,” Nunes says. “But now, I see how difficult it is for people asking for asylum.”
She's already started the process of applying for a work visa to stay here, in Mexico. She says living in Mexico would still be a step up from her life in Honduras.
Reyes is also hopeful she could find a job in Mexico, but she says if she doesn't in the next week, she will go back to Honduras.
“It was a very hard battle to get here,” Reyes says. “I would not like to go back empty-handed.”
Reyes says she doesn’t want to give up, but knowing if she does return home, that’s what it will feel like.