• Teen immigrant explains frightening journey from Central America to Atlanta

    By: Kerry Kavanaugh


    ATLANTA - President Barack Obama wants Congress to approve nearly $4 billion to deal with the rise in Central Americans illegally crossing the border.
    The flood of illegal immigrants is straining local and state resources.

    [Para leer esta historia en español, imprime aquí.]

    Some of the money would go toward the detention, care and transportation of the children who arrive without family members.       
    For the first time, we are hearing from a child who connected with family in metro Atlanta, after crossing the border alone.
    The 14-year-old girl said she arrived in the U.S. after several nightmarish days in Mexico and now she has a message for other children considering making this dangerous journey.
    “I never thought it would be like this,” the teen told Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh in Spanish.
    Her name is Maverick. She's agreed to talk to Channel  2 Action News about her solo journey from Honduras to the United States border and ultimately metro Atlanta, if we didn’t show her face.
    She told Kavanaugh it was an awful trip.
    Maverick said it began at the border between Honduras and Guatemala where she met a “guia” or a guide, who would bring her through Guatemala, Mexico and eventually to the Texas border.
    She said she paid the guide $3,000 to pay her way and to pay people off, including Mexican police.
    The teenager said she fled her home country because of the constant threat of violence. She had no idea what she would encounter along the way to America.
    She said in Mexico, she saw young girls working as prostitutes, getting high. Children including herself, were offered drugs. She said men pointed guns to her back demanding money.
    Once at the border she said she walked for hours in the hot sun.
    “If you are passing through a desert, who knows who lives or dies?” she said.
    Eventually she was picked up by U.S. Border Patrol agents and was moved to a couple different holding facilities in Texas while agents worked to identify her and her mother, already in Georgia.
    Kavanaugh asked her if all of this was worth it.
    She said she's glad to be with her mother but doesn't recommend any other child take this risk.
    She said she would stay put and find another way to come to the U.S. legally.
    After the federal government located and identified her mother in Gwinnett County, it was up to the mother to get her to Georgia. She purchased her a plane ticket from San Antonio to Dallas to Atlanta.
    Maverick said she doesn’t know what is next for her. She doesn’t know if she’ll be deported. She hopes to have an immigration court date soon.

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