BROWNSVILLE, Texas – The first group of Central Americans seeking asylum in the United States arrived Thursday in Brownsville after they were cleared to leave from the Mexican city of Matamoros just across the Rio Grande.

A total of 27 adults and children were processed by immigration officials at the Gateway International Bridge and taken to the Central Bus Station where each of them received a second Covid-19 test.

The arrival of the undocumented immigrants, most of which came from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, was described as a historic day for human rights and for the administration of President Joe Biden.

Some immigrants were extremely happy for having the chance to better their lives in this county.

They also said they left their countries for a variety of reasons, including gang violence, corrupt governments and lack of jobs.

“Things are not good back home,” Tiburcio Calderon, a Honduran man who left from the Central American country with his young son and a daughter on Feb. 8 of this year, said. “The good jobs there are for those who are well connected.”

He said they are going to North Carolina to be with a relative.

Asked what he is going to do once he gets there, Calderon said, “Anything I can. I will find out how it goes.”

Behind him was Monica Melare Hernandez of El Salvador.

“We are going to Louisiana to join my father,” she said as her three years old son, Dylan, kept running toward the back of waiting area. “We feel lucky to be here.”

Marie Cordova, a Guatemalan, said she was in Matamoros for 10 months living in the tent city.

“It was hard living under such conditions,” she said, “but we were not mistreated.”

Cordova said the Mexican authorities were very helpful so were a number of organizations from the U.S. side of the border.

Asked how she felt to be in this country, she simply replied, “Muy feliz (Very happy).”

Before the immigrants were transported to the west side of the bus station, a contingent of reporters and photographers waited for their arrival some of them since 7 a.m.

However, the release of the immigrants did not start until noon.

Jodi Goodwin and Laura Peña, two immigration attorneys working for a No- Governmental Organization, called the release of the immigrants a victory for human rights.

“The first group of 27 immigrants have crossed into the United States,” Goodwin said. “The expressions we saw on many of them was one of shock, happiness and of tears coming down their faces. Some of these people left their loved-ones more than two years ago.”

Groups of 100 immigrants are scheduled to arrive in Brownsville until the Matamoros tent comes down.


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