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SPECIAL REPORT: Life after the Detention Center

News 11's Gianella Ghiglino brings us an exclusive look at how migrants are getting by after being held at detention centers in Yuma and Imperial County

MEXICALI, B.C. (KYMA, KECY) - One thing that has remained consistent throughout this entire pandemic has been people fleeing violence, risking their lives to one day enter the United States. But the journey is not easy, and with current immigration policies in place some who were held in detention centers are now back in Mexico, waiting to see if they will get asylum in our country.

Jorge Campos left El Salvador at the age of 15, saying he was fleeing gang violence. "The Mara, MS, Barrio 18, they kill people over there," said Campos.

He started a family in the U.S. had a home here, settled roots. He was a permanent resident for 35 years but after getting a DUI in 2013 he was deported to El Salvador.

In December of 2019, he asked for asylum and spent six months in a detention center. His application was denied.

 the same shelter sleeping in the bed next to him is a mother who left Honduras with her two young children.

She is fleeing from her boyfriend who is a gang member and would hit her every night 

“My dad hit my mom a lot,” said Franklin Ponce, Refugee. 

Now the bruises have healed but their journey has not been easy.

Kenya has been here for two years and her dream is to get to the U.S.

Kenya Ponce Figueroa, Refugee 

“To come to Mexicali, we had to go on the train it was really hard and I am a single mother just last night I tried to cross but immigration got me here we are still fighting.” 

Kenya says when border patrol found them her son was so tired he was giving up but she says it was what one border patrol officer told her after that broke her spirit. 

“He said we can’t be crossing, that we’re nothing and it doesn’t matter what the president says this country will never want us.” 

“The Trump administration instituted a number of problematic policies, unlawful, problematic, abusive policies at the southern border including remain in Mexico so-called Migrant protection program that returns non-Mexican citizens to Mexico and subjects them to violence,”said Danny Castillo, Refugee.

In a shelter, a block away is a family of four. They decided to follow the rest of their families and flee the violence in Honduras.

Danny Castillo said the most bittersweet day of their life was when they got to the detention center 

“When we got there they examined my son then after the examination and taking his vital signs they said he had a heart condition that we were not aware of,” said Danny Castillo, Refugee. 

Danny says he felt like he failed his family but he is also glad to know the condition his son has

Now they are seeking asylum in the U.S and have hope that President Biden will make seeking asylum an easier path. 

Gianella Ghiglino

Peruvian-born and LA raised Gianella Ghiglino joins the team from the San Fernando valley. “LA is the place that taught me how to breath and Peru is my breath.” She says she was inspired by the community she grew up in and began documenting her experience through poetry at the age of 7. “I wrote about everything I saw, felt and everything that inspired me.” When she entered High School she joined her school news station and realized that broadcast journalism allowed her to pursue her passion and her purpose all at once. Gianella attended Cal State Northridge and received a Bachelors degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish Broadcast Journalism, and Political Science. She did several internships while in College but most notably interned for PBS’s local LA station for three years. “My purpose is to share my story and of those in my community, my passion is writing.”

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