On Sunday, tension escalated at the US-Mexico border as U.S. officials launched tear gas at a group of migrants rushing the border. Now, thousands of migrants are staying in temporary shelters across the border in Tijuana and Mexicali, hoping to claim asylum in America.
For Edwin Hernandez, Carmen Lopez and their two children, it was an unimaginable journey to get to the border.
“For us, it’s hard,” Hernandez says. “We never thought we’d do this.”
The family traveled 2,500 miles by foot from their home in Honduras to the border town of Tijuana.
The family formed a human chain, locking arms, and began their long trek, all in hopes of seeking asylum in the United States. Hernandez says they needed to leave due to escalating problems in their home country.
“Problems involving gangs and extortion,” Hernandez explains.
Hernandez says he’s already seen two of his own cousins murdered by gangs, and he worries for his two children, ages 7 and 12.
“The problem is, I’m just always thinking of the kids,” Hernandez says. “I think to myself, what’s the point of doing this? I’m doing this for my two children and for her.”
The family wasn’t at the border when tear gas was deployed on migrants trying to cross illegally on Sunday, but they saw the images.
“I would not want that to happen to my kids, or to me or to my husband. So, I would rather wait,” says Lopez.
They want to make sure they enter legally by asking for asylum at an official checkpoint.
Right now, the closest thing they have to an official document is a piece of paper they received from a checkpoint with their places in line. They are numbers 1,463 and 1,464.
“Of course we’re scared, but what can we do?” Hernandez says.
For now, they family will wait at a shelter, where their children can go to a small school.
“It really depends on them and how long they have us wait,” says Lopez. “I don’t know.”