As a caravan of Honduran migrants makes its way through a heavily policed Mexican border with Guatemala on Friday, one Honduran asylum seeker recalls his journey of winning asylum in the United States.
After nearly five years of lawyers and asking for asylum several times, 38 year-old Ángel Torres is even closer to the possibility of becoming a U.S. citizen.
Torres is a cook at La Posada Providencia, a refuge center in San Benito for asylum seekers.
“I was a cook and a public accountant [in Honduras], but because of the problems that occur in my country – I had to leave,” Torres said.
While studying, he volunteered with organizations that advocated for vulnerable groups, like sex workers and the LGBT community. He would report cases of alleged sexual assaults on those people that would be detained by police.
“I was attacked for those reasons, because police knew that I was reporting them for what they were doing,” Torres said.
The police would retaliate.
“The situation with gangs, the situation with the government, the situation with the police and the situation with getting an education,” Torres said.
Those are just some of the many problems Torres says affected him and his family.
One of his eldest brothers, a security guard, was killed. Another one of his brothers was stabbed in another incident.
And after three tries of applying for asylum, Torres was able to get his asylum granted and apply for a work permit. Now, his siblings are in the U.S., along with his 60 year-old mother who has a thyroid condition and is detained in El Paso. Torres’ mother recently decided to sign papers for her deportation.
“It’s very stressful because I would love to have my mother with me, but I can’t,” Torres said, as he recalls the bond he would have to pay to release her from detention.
As many others with different stories at La Posada Providencia fight their cases, Torres is grateful for his opportunity to now have an independent life the U.S. without fearing for his safety.