Seeking Refuge, Finding Hope
“I was hungry and thirsty… desperate and afraid for my life. ”
David had been wandering the hostile desert between Mexico and Texas for two full days when he first saw the agents from the U.S. Border Patrol. He didn’t try to run away from them; instead he stumbled towards them.
At last he was safe.
David’s journey to Texas had been a harrowing one, but his daily life as a teenaged boy in Honduras, where vicious gangs rule the streets and towns, was equally dangerous. Gang members followed him to school and threatened to kill his family. They even attacked him with knives. It was either join them or escape to the United States. David is a shy, studious young man who dreams of becoming an engineer; he wanted nothing to do with gangs.
David chose escape.
He left Honduras with only enough money for a bus ticket to get him to Guatemala. Alone and friendless, he was riding on top of the train known as la bestia—the beast—when extortionists kidnapped him at gunpoint. They didn’t believe him when he said he couldn’t pay their ransom. They locked him in a small, dirty room by himself and beat him repeatedly.
Miraculously, David was able to slip away from his captors and start the long walk to freedom.
David’s case was referred to Austin Region Justice For Our Neighbors, where Attorney, Rebecca Rosenberg, helped him to apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile status. Although David is safe from the immediate threat of deportation, his ability to remain in the U.S. over the longer-term hinges upon obtaining permanent legal residency.
You can help David achieve his dream of becoming an engineer, which begins with continued access to high-quality pro bono legal representation.
There are many more young people like David, kids seeking refuge from fear, brutality, and never-ending violence. They have risked everything for a new life, but did you know that unaccompanied migrant children who reach the United States are not guaranteed legal representation? Yet those children lucky enough to find legal representation last year were nearly six times more likely to be able to remain lawfully in this country than those without.