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‘This state has not approved anything for us’: Undocumented immigrants share struggles

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana policies coupled with fear of deportation is causing harm to undocumented immigrants, they say.

Less than half of all immigrants in Indiana are undocumented, according to the National Immigration Forum. Many of them made the dangerous trek from Mexico to the United States in search of a better life and now call Indiana home.

“I walked about three hours across the desert,” Flor Castro, who did not want to be identified by his real name for fear of being deported, said. “I arrived in Arizona. From Arizona, I was moved to California and from California, I arrived in Indianapolis, where my sister lived.”

At the age of 19, Castro placed his life in danger by walking across the border. He says he fled cartel violence and there wasn’t enough money to put food on the table. He’s been living in the U.S. for 30 years and is raising three kids born in America.

“I think that there hasn’t been help here like in other states that at least provide a driver’s license to be able to go to work and buy our food without fear and truly, this state has not approved anything for us, the Hispanic community,” Castro said.

Just like Castro, Rosa Rodriguez, who also did not want to give us her real name, says she wants more representation. Rodriguez has three kids born in the U.S. She and her husband are depending on their son, who’s in the U.S. military, to fight for their permanent residency.

“It’s really hard,” Rodriguez said. “As a mother, I feel proud, but I am alone.”

Rodriguez says she hasn’t seen her husband since he went back to Mexico two years ago with hopes of returning to the U.S. legally. She’s been working two jobs to support her family and with tears rolling down her eyes, she says it’s been tough. These immigrants say they remain hopeful and are depending on their children and other family members to advocate for them.

This is the first story in a series we’re calling “INside Story.” The rest of Camila’s stories looking into immigration and its effect on those who call Indiana home will air each evening this week on News 8.