McALLEN – Central Americans say news reports in their countries are encouraging them to make the journey north to the United States.
A mother and child told CHANNEL 5 NEWS that the message being disseminated in their country is, “go to America with your child, you won’t be turned away.”
The woman, Nora Griselda Bercian Diaz, from Guatemala, said she endured threats from the Zetas and extortion from corrupt Mexican police. She eventually crossed the Rio Grande with her 6-year-old Delmi Griselda Paul Bercian by her side.
The woman said she wants a U.S. education for her daughter.
“I want to study,” said the girl who hopes to one day become a doctor.
A CHANNEL 5 NEWS crew met the mother and daughter three hours after they crossed the border illegally. They were lost and searching for Border Patrol agents.
“I was planning to go to McAllen then call a friend for her to send me money on the bus,” Bercian Diaz said.
Bercian Diaz said she has no family in the United States. Her hope of staying here relies on her little girl. She said the message in her country is that America’s borders are open to all families.
News reports in Guatemala say mothers and small children are getting bus tickets, Bercian Diaz said.
“I said, ‘I need to act right now, because this will end and my girl won’t have a future,'” Bercian Diaz said.
Bercian Diaz said she has a haunting past. She was deported a year ago. Her fear is that the deportation will break up her family.
“I’m afraid,” the woman said crying.
“I’m afraid of being sent back to my country. I don’t have any family in the United States, I just have friends,” she said.
Bercian Diaz worked in California restaurants until she got caught. She would send money back to help her daughter.
The signs of malnourishment are evident on the young girl.
“I brought her here because I know this is a better future for her,” Bercian Diaz said.
Bercian Diaz said they endured harassment in Tampico. She said members of the Zetas drug cartel tried to kidnap them.
“They chased us to kidnap us to request for ransom,” Bercian Diaz said.
She said they barely escaped.
Bercian Diaz said they found corruption in the Mexican government.
“They were asking for 500 pesos, 600 pesos. The federals took that money from us,” she said.
She said the Mexican federal police and immigration officers asked for money to “turn the other way.”
“The immigration officers took 1,500 pesos,” Bercian Diaz said.
She said the threat of rape and kidnapping haunted them every day.
“We were hiding with people in small houses on our way. They were trying to hide from the federal police. I was afraid for my little girl. They can do whatever to me, but not to my little girl,” Bercian Diaz said.
The young girl wept as they waited for Border Patrol agents.
“I’m afraid of being separated,” the girl said.
“She doesn’t want to be away from me,” Bercian Diaz said.
Bercian Diaz said the fear of cartels and corruption was replaced by fear of what’s to come.
Agents eventually arrived and ushered the mother and daughter into a van. The agents didn’t have time to turn around before another group came walking up the same road.