Jul 24, 2014
Filed in Giving
McALLEN, Texas – Daniela Cruz* is bone-tired. After a harrowing month on the road from her home in El Salvador, she crossed the Rio Grande River this week, was picked up by Border Patrol agents and processed as an undocumented immigrant.
She is looking forward to a shower – the first she’s had in a month – clothing and some food provided at the Catholic Charities Refugee Center at Sacred Heart Catholic Church here. Among the clothing is shoes collected through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls®, available to the waves of children who pass through the center daily with their parents.
Daniela Cruz talks to Javier Perez, manager of missions and humanitarian aid for Buckner, as she waits for her daughters, Carmen, 6, and Lorena, 8, to receive a new pair of shoes collected through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls® at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church Relief Center July 22. The family traveled for a month from their native El Salvador to reach Texas. The family had just been detained and processed prior to the photo.
The young mother made the journey with daughters Lorena, 8, and Carmen, 6. The decision to go wasn’t easy, nor was it inexpensive, but she said it had to be made.
“First, it wasn’t safe for my children and then there was no employment,” she said. “There is nothing you can do in El Salvador now for employment and I can’t even be sure my kids will be safe because of Mara Salvatrucha (a prominent Salvadoran drug gang, also known as MS-13).
“One of my nieces was being harassed by the gangs, and I didn’t want to have my daughters endure the same treatment.”
So she and her husband made the decision for her and the girls to travel the dangerous route to the United States to join family in New York.
They paid smugglers known as coyotes $3,500 to lead them past her country’s border, through Guatemala and Mexico and finally to the U.S. border, where they swam across the Rio Grande.
The family “travelled by bus mainly at night, and stayed in warehouses, sleeping on the floor for 3-5 days at a time while we waited to go from one country to another.” Along the way, her daughter became ill, but the family did not have access to medical attention. Read the rest of this entry