Migrants making their journey share their stories

Migrants making their journey share their stories
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 7:00 AM MST|Updated: Sep. 19, 2023 at 7:40 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The U.S. southern border is seeing a major influx of migrants seeking asylum. Officials say a majority of them are crossing without proper documentation or using the CBP One App and causing the need for street releases.

The Tucson sector is seeing a big chunk of those migrants.

In Nogales, Mayor Jorge Maldonado said border officials are releasing migrants at least four times a day. He said they are being dropped off in front of businesses like McDonald’s and Shell on W. Crawford St. and N. Sonoita Ave.

Maldonado said they asylum seekers usually don’t stay in Nogales for long. They are usually waiting until other transportation can be arranged to get to their final destination.

However, he said most of the migrants aren’t coming through Nogales. Maldonado said many of the asylum seekers being dropped are coming from the Lukeville sector of the border.

An asylum seeker who didn’t want to be named tells 13 News his journey started in Senegal, a country in Africa. He said it took over a month to make it across the border ending up in Nogales.

He traveled through countries like Morocco, Spain, and multiple countries in South America.

“I was super motivated to leave Senegal because of the lack of jobs and opportunities,” he said.

Officials say often many of the migrants don’t even know where they’re at.

The people traveling together in his group originally thought they were in California, until they asked us where they were. Their final destination is Atlanta, GA.

“Right now you can step into the U.S. and say you want to seek asylum,” Mayor Maldonado said. “They go back to the station and fill out their paperwork. These people have destinations. They have family in the U.S.”

Mayor Maldonado said the problem they are seeing is migrants crossing over and seeking asylum in the United States. He said when this happens organizations like Casa Alitas aren’t able to help. Since they are only able to help asylum seekers who use the CBP One App.

“The CBP One App, which is an app to give you your asylum court date and everything and they get processed by customs,” Maldonado said. “The other ones are pretty much detained illegally but seek asylum once they step inside the U.S.”

This is exactly how Angela PrÍs Guerrero sought asylum.

She crossed the border after traveling for over a month. She said once she crossed the border into the U.S. her group got apprehended by border patrol agents right away.

PrÍs Guerrero said this happened about ten minutes after they crossed into the U.S. She was actually relieved since they were only walking in the Arizona desert for that short amount of time.

“Sincerely to have a better quality of life and stop having problems with politics, groups, and authorities in my country,” PrÍs Guerrero said.

PrÍs Guerrero is in Nogales waiting to receive money to finish her journey to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is where she hopes to reunite with her family and start a better life.

“It has been worth it despite all the difficulties it has been worth it to come to this country,” PrÍs Guerrero said.

She tells 13 News it took about a month to make the trip through the rough desert terrain, passing through eight different countries. This is something she believes was well worth the trip.

“This is a very difficult trajectory for kids. I don’t agree for anyone to bring their kids. They suffer a lot and a lot of them die. You do have to have faith and believe a lot in God that it’s possible,” PrÍs Guerrero said.

This past week, the mayor put out a message to his community. He wanted to ensure people living in Nogales there is no need to worry. He said they are in constant communication with the different border agencies and lawmakers coming up with the next game plan.

Mayor Maldanado wants to emphasize they are doing everything they can to make sure migrants are being treated humanely and they’ll keep doing what they can to assist in the efforts.

However, he said funding from the government is crucial in order to keep moving the migrants out of Nogales.

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