DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) — As the numbers of unaccompanied minors showing up to the Texas-Mexico border continues to rise, 14-year old Silvia Marroquin of El Salvador and her family are opening up about the teens journey here.
Marroquin was 13-years old when she left her hometown of Usulutan, El Salvador last year. It’s a small town ripped apart by street gang violence. Her father who had already been living in Dallas illegally paid a human smuggler $4,500 to bring his daughter here.
Guided by the smuggler the teen tells CBS 11 she and another group of children were brought by land through 3 countries ultimately making it to the U.S.- Mexico border in South Texas. She tells us the man her family had paid and trusted to bring her here safely had abused her, and mistreated her along the nearly 5,300 mile journey.
Marroquin said, “It was a difficult experience” about the trip. Recalling , “I was so thirsty, and I didn’t have enough food, and sometimes I thought I was going to die.”
Her father, Elmer Marroquin has been living in the U.S. for nine years. He works as a painter in Dallas, and says he knew the risk he was putting his daughter in when he sent for her. He says desperation brought him to make that decision.
He said, “I did it because I wanted a better future for her.”
The teen girl like many of the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors who are arriving here are fleeing violence in their home countries. The 14-year old tells us she left shortly after her school teacher was murdered.
While her immigration case remains in limbo, the Marroquin family has shifted their attention to their youngest son who was left behind in Usulutan. According to them he is in the care of an ailing grandmother and neighbors. He doesn’t go to school, because it to dangerous there, and just recently the 10-year old boy, Alexis saw his bus driver get robbed and killed by gangs as he sat in the back of the school bus on the way home.
In a rare phone conversation the 10-year old pleaded for help saying “Please help me so I can come [to Dallas], and be with my family.”
Currently, Ralph Isenberg and immigration advocate is working to get the boy to the U.S and reunited with his Dallas family. Until then, Alexis’, and the Marroquin father and daughter’s future remain uncertain. As for the dad and daughter, both have received continuances in their immigration cases. They can stay for now, but there’s no telling what will happen later.
When asked to respond to those who believe his family shouldn’t be here, Elmer Marroquin said, “We aren’t here to harm anyone. I just wanted a better future for my family.”
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