UN: More Central Americans Headed to US

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MCALLEN — The United Nations said there are more Central Americans headed to the Rio Grande Valley.

Central American families that are caught and released by Border Patrol end up at the McAllen bus station. Luis Guerrero started volunteering at Catholic Charities two years ago.

“I’m an ex-firefighter. I always liked to help people,” he said.        

The people Guerrero helps are from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and other Central American countries.

Guerrero said he’s seen change lately.

“We used to have one bus. Now, sometimes, we have two buses in the afternoon coming in,” he said. “You're talking about 99 people in the afternoons."

Jerson Ballrillas, 17, is a new arrival from El Salvador. He said he felt relieved when he crossed the river into the Valley.

The UN said El Salvador and Honduras have had an increase in violence and insecurity.

Ballrillas said before he left, he wore a new pair of shoes to school. Gang members told him to take them off.

"They told me I couldn't wear those shoes because it looked like theirs,” Ballrillas said.

Guerrero keeps hearing the same stories over and over. People tell him criminals want to use their children for prostitution or to sell drugs.

“We’re going to be busy for a while,” he said.

Guerrero thinks the situation at the McAllen bus station may be the new normal.

CURRENT CONDITIONS
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