Its being called a humanitarian crisis along the southern border of the United States.
An endless flow of illegal immigrants, mostly young Central Americans, fleeing their homes in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
They are seeking a better life with family members living legally or illegally in the United States.
The impoverished streets of El Salvador with its gang-infested neighborhoods have made living conditions miserable, especially for young Salvadoreans looking to flee the hopelessness and despair.
“Its very dangerous right now for a child between 8 and 20, you have this pressure of just having to be with this gang, its very famous, MS13”, says Janie Mendoza who’s own mother fled El Salvador to come to the U.S. illegally, “you are exposed at a young age to sex trafficking, human trafficking, drug trafficking and you’re pressured because you work for probably a dollar an hour.”
Mendoza was born in Santa Maria and now a close family friend who works in the local farm fields is waiting to embrace a 12 year old daughter she left behind in El Salvador more than a decade ago.
The reunion is expected to take place this weekend.
“She’s worried, she just can’t wait to have her in her arms”, Mendoza says about the mother who also has two other children born in the U.S., “she’s worried, she’s been talking about it, there’s always a worry, is my child safe?”
The mother saved up thousands of dollars to pay “coyotes”, the people who smuggle immigrants to the border, and get her daughter as far north as the Rio Grande River Valley along the Texas border which is awash in a sea of illegal immigration.
The daughter is currently in a detention center along the Texas border.
“She’s in good condition, my understanding is the little child, she reported herself to Immigration when she was crossing”, Mendoza says, “I think they contacted her, Immigration called her, they probably asked the little girl, who is your mother? Where does she live? All the details, and then they contacted her.”
As American anger and frustration grows amid the wave of unchecked illegal immigration into the country, Janie Mendoza says she’s aware of the situation on both sides of the border.
“I do, but I also see the struggle they must have done to make that decision (to flee El Salvador)”, Mendoza says, “it’s a very poor country, you don’t have a lot of opportunities, my mom being Salvadorean, when she came over here she had a dream, like everybody else.”