“We run away to escape death, but nobody cares. Minor searches with our hands up”: Maria, the journey of hope to the USA

The question migrants is one of the hottest topics for the administration of Joe Biden, struggling with growing pressure on the southern border with Mexico. The theme has been at the center of the clash between democrats e republicans, while who comes from America central e latina he hopes to find a better reception with this president than that of Trump. The figures speak of an unstoppable flow, with over 78 thousand arrivals in January and more than 100 thousand a February. Numbers that are almost triple if compared to those of the previous 12 months and that risk delivering to 2021 the record of the year with the highest number of arrivals in the new millennium. Second Doctors without borders, the new agreement between States United, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala which strengthens border militarization will lead to further criminalization of migrants and refugees, left increasingly exposed to the violence of organized crime and the pandemic of Covid-19. The team di Msf have repeatedly denounced the mass raids and cases of arbitrary detention on the southern border of Mexico, as well as the expulsion of asylum seekers from the United States under “Title 42”, a provision that prohibits all non-essential travel to limit the spread of infection. This rule, issued following the Covid-19 pandemic, provides for immediate mass expulsion for spurious public health reasons, effectively blocking the right to seek asylum in the US. Exclusively for ilfattoquotidiano.it, we report the testimony of Maria, who fled Guatemala with her family.

“We had to run away from Guatemala because at work my husband gave confidential information and the gang they asked him about it. They have it threatened, arrested and beaten. They came to our house and tried to take mine away daughter. A man took my son, telling him that his father had to cooperate. They said they were going to kill mine sons. So we decided to leave the country for their sake. All four of us left and crossed the Mexico. It wasn’t easy, we slept on the street. We’ve been through some tough times, but we thought once we got over that, it would get better.

We walked to the southern border of the Mexico, where we boarded a bus for Mexico City. The next day we took other buses for Monterrey e Reynosa, where the agents stopped my husband and my son. My daughter and I weren’t stopped, so I continued on travel, while my husband ended up in a migrant shelter in Monterrey. I went on because what else was I supposed to do with my daughter? Three days later we crossed the river, entering the United States.

It was very difficult to get on the rafts at night, in the dark. We walked between the hills and, once we got to the river, we got on board and went down to the other side, in the United States. On reaching the shore, we walked along a path and were stopped by patrols. They pointed their torches at us and started selecting people, separating us from children, depending on age. My daughter is four years old. They put me on a bus and after an hour they gave us some water and some biscuits. The children were examined by a doctor, they took our fingerprints, they took pictures of us and took us to a large tensile structure, divided into small rooms equipped with mats. They were about to hand me a mat when they told me I had to wait.

One came policewoman with a dossier which contained a photo of me; he told me they would transfer us to another center where they would handle our case faster, because that center was overcrowded. Another bus. They took us to some kind of little one police station with a cell. It was there that women and children took them. We slept on the floor. Ai children they gave them a fruit juice, but they went without eating because they brought them some cassette of smelly vegetables. I gave a piece to my daughter but she started to to throw up. I quit right away because if she got better again she would be dehydrated. It was not allowed to bring more than one change. Clothes that we couldn’t take with us were taken off and then thrown away. They also took away the children’s clothes, despite the cold.

They put us on a bus around three in the morning. We were worried because we thought: “Nobody took our case, they asked us for nothing, none declaration, they didn’t even ask us where we were headed in United States“. Then I realized: from the bus I saw the river again and an agent with a black shirt and a Mexican flag.

We approached and the agent asked us: “What are you doing here? Why are they sending me people from Honduras? ” I replied that I was from Guatemala and he replied: “Not matters, you’re not Mexican and I don’t understand why they sent you here ”. At that point a woman started crying and he said to her: “Him States United they don’t want you, if they send you back it’s because they don’t want you there. “

They took us to the reception center. I told them I didn’t know what to do, that I had nothing, either money, born one phone. I said I had entered the United States from the border of Reynosa and that they had brought me back to the border of Nuevo Laredo. I couldn’t communicate with anyone. There with me there were about 20 women with them children. Two buses arrived to take us to shelter for migrants, many women went up, we had children of different ages, some held them in their arms.

Al shelter municipal they helped us. I was able to communicate with mine family. My husband told me he was sick, that he had gone to a doctor and had to undergo surgery. We have no money to pay for the surgery. He is the one who takes care of my son and if anything should happen to him, my son would be left alone in the shelter.

We were told that the trip would take three days and that the American immigration system would welcome us. We believed it, but it didn’t. We arrived thinking we could build a future best for our children and to find a job. We thought the president of the United States had said 100 days (referring to the moratorium on expulsions, ed). We, on the other hand, thought that in these 100 days we would be able to enter the country, but it wasn’t like that. Many families are sending their children alone, when I crossed the river there were many children traveling alone.

In the reception centers there were Portable toilets, sinks and soap but they did not perform medical tests on the mothers. No doctor has us control yourself, they didn’t measure us there temperature, they did not provide us with masks, they did not tell us to maintain physical distancing in overcrowded cells. In each cell there were 50 women with their children. We are talking about more than 100 people in a room, with their mattresses on the floor, side by side. Here in Mexico the doctors examined us quickly, just to measure height and weight and to know our blood type. They didn’t evaluate our health or do a real medical check-up.

My husband is in a shelter in Guadalupe, New Lion. Now we are waiting to go back to our country so it can be cured, because we have no access to anything here. We are illegal, for this we cannot receive help. I’m afraid to go back in Guatemala. I know what we have experienced will present itself again. We will return home, hoping that somehow the situation will be resolved, at least for the safety of my children, because I don’t feel safe here either.

I feel like I have failed, because everything we have had to go through has been difficult. I believed it would be a temporary condition and that I could protect my children. Now I know this is not possible. I can’t protect them here either, and if they do States United they don’t even give us a chance to submit our application, most likely I will go back to my country. And I feel it will be like swimming against the tide.

Many women they came with the idea that they would be reunited with theirs family, since i husbands they were in the States United. Others came to look for work. Others, like us, are running away to escape death, but that doesn’t matter either, because they don’t listen to us, there is no possibility of representing their situation. Even if you have prove, there is no way. Nothing matters, there is no way to get to the other side, they say i borders they’re closed.

The agents they treat you badly. Ask a question and they yell at you, push you. To search i minors, they had them put against the bus with their hands up and pushed them. I thought about my son, I don’t want him to be beaten because I saw how they mistreated them to search them. They treat us badly. We migrants we don’t want to hurt anyone, we just want to change our life. We are running away and we have no intention of harming anyone, but I don’t think anyone really understands it ”.

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