Make your home page

Young Hoosier recalls experience of crossing into US: ‘My parents had nothing’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — More migrant children who arrive at the southern border of the United States are creating major challenges for the U.S. government.

“There really isn’t much down there, unless you’re in a drug gang or cartel, and therefore people flee,” said Domingo Garcia, the national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, which is the largest and oldest Hispanic civil rights organization in the United States.

For years, the group has been disappointed how families were separated when they got to the border. Now, Garcia says, the situation at the border patrol facilities is getting better.

On May 10, 455 unaccompanied children were in the custody of the U.S. border patrol. That number was down from more than 5,700 in late March, according to Alejandro Mayorkas, the Homeland Security secretary.

Garcia said, “It’s a difference between night and day … from being put into prisons that were made for adults, men, and putting those children now in foster care centers and children centers before they’re reunited and making a very strong effort to reunite these children with their families.”

Danni Lerma is an undocumented immigrant protected from being deported by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. At age 5, he moved to the United States from Mexico with his older brother and dad in search of a better life. His mom was waiting for them in the United States. Lerma’s now in his 20s.

“My parents had nothing. My parents came here not talking English. My parents had $10 in their pocket when they came here and now own their businesses,” Lerma said.

Like many others, he made his way across the desert on his father’s back placing their lives in danger. “I remember that we had to sleep in certain caves in order to not be spotted. There was like snakes in the desert,” Lerma said.

He says a lot of immigrants find it tough to enter the country legally. “The immigration system in our countries, even in this one, are so broken that there is not really a correct way or a fast way to get here without having money, without having influence, or without having any power,” Lerma said.

Lerma says it’s important that people advocate for immigrants in Indiana. He says many of them just want a better life.