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The Journey To Texas: Why Central American Kids Are Coming Here

Ivan Pierre Aguirre
The Texas Tribune

One of every four kids who’ve crossed the border illegally in the last year or so is from Honduras and Texas has become ground zero in this latest immigration surge.

Alfredo Corchado of the Dallas Morning Newswent to Honduras to find out why and KERA’s vice president of news Rick Holter caught up with him.

Interview Highlights: Alfredo Corchado…

..On the situation in Honduras:

“San Pedro Sula is a place where you drive and you see streets of abandoned homes. Many of these people had been warned, ‘you have two hours to leave, you have an hour to leave, you need to leave by tomorrow.’ Some of these houses were known as ‘casas locas’, crazy homes because these gangs would take over them and they would torture people.”

…On why kids are ending up at the Texas side of the U.S. border:

“Historically, Texas is the easiest way to get to the United States. It’s the more direct route to America, especially for the children. They’re not looking to sneak into the United States. They’re looking for the nearest place where they can turn themselves in.

…[The kids] seemed very perplexed. ‘Why are people talking about military? Why are people talking about drones when we’re not sneaking in, we’re turning ourselves in to U.S. authorities.’

…On one Honduran father who has been trying to reunite with his U.S.-born children:

“Marco Matute had left Dallas about four years ago because his father had passed away and he wanted his kids to at least spend some time with his mother, wanted them to get to know her and feel like they had a grandmother. So he takes the kids, they spend a year in Honduras. His thought is, ‘[the kids are] U.S. citizens, no problem getting them back. I’ll just find a way to sneak back to the United States.’ He’s been trying to do this for the last three years.” 

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.