Helping STL's undocumented children

ST. LOUIS - Dozens of undocumented children are living in St. Louis. They came to America from Central America to reunite with parents or live with friends.

Darwin made the journey two months ago. He'd become a target of the gangs that run his town in Honduras because he was at the scene of a gang murder. The gangs wanted to kill him since he was a witness. Many undocumented children in Central America only have two choices: work and die for the gang or escape.

"It was dangerous to pass because we passed through the mountains and we were walking" said 12-year-old Darwin.

The walk to freedom in the United States started for Darwin out of fear. The gangs in his hometown wanted to kill him because he witnessed them murder a man.

"A lot of men with knives. My grandma said I couldn't stay. I needed to come to the U.S.," he said.

Darwin's mother lives in St. Louis. He hadn't seen her for nine years. But he came, through mountains and mayhem, through buses, and suffering hunger through Guatemala and Mexico to get to St. Louis.

"We stayed in old houses and looked for food," he said. He got to the river in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. "The water was really high I was scared to be crossing."

He made it a few steps into the U.S. when border patrol agents found him. His sister Luz made the same journey a year ago.

"I had to leave Honduras because my grandma couldn't take care of me and because there are lot kidnappings, people are murdered where I live," she said.

She travelled with a smuggler.

"I was separated from other people. I came with one man. I didn't sleep because I wasn't sure what would happen. I'm crying every day because I don't want the boys to touch me," she said.

Many children are often abused and raped during their journeys to the U.S. The government expects 90,000 of them will come to the U.S. this year.

"I was so emotional to see my mom," said Luz. She is learning English and going to school. Darwin will go to school too. They made it alive on their walk to freedom.

Catholic Charities helps pay for the undocumented children's legal fees. The caseload doubled for Marie Keyon and her lawyers at Saint Louis University Law School this year. Kenyon said not all children will get to stay. They get no public money or resources.


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