One Family Shares Why They Joined The Migrant Caravan And Their Challenges Angel and Delma Muñoz fled gang violence in Honduras and joined the migrant caravan headed toward the U.S. They're now among thousands waiting in Tijuana to apply for asylum.
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One Family Shares Why They Joined The Migrant Caravan And Their Challenges

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One Family Shares Why They Joined The Migrant Caravan And Their Challenges

One Family Shares Why They Joined The Migrant Caravan And Their Challenges

One Family Shares Why They Joined The Migrant Caravan And Their Challenges

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Angel and Delma Muñoz fled gang violence in Honduras and joined the migrant caravan headed toward the U.S. They're now among thousands waiting in Tijuana to apply for asylum.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

There are now nearly 4,500 migrants from the Central American caravan in the Mexican border city of Tijuana. Most are packed into a sports complex that the city government turned into a shelter. They've spent more than a month travelling nearly 3,000 miles. And now, people in the caravan are trying to figure out what to do next.

Reporter James Fredrick has been following one family from Honduras.

(CROSSTALK)

JAMES FREDRICK, BYLINE: Being in the middle of the migrant caravan can be exhausting. I can see it on the face of 32-year-old Angel Munoz, who's sitting on the curb about a hundred yards away from the shelter.

ANGEL MUNOZ: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: He says he came out here looking for food. There wasn't enough inside the shelter. The last time they served food, he waited in line for an hour and a half.

Angel is here with his wife Delma and their 12-year-old daughter Miley. They're both quiet and sweet and constantly grinning. They graciously laugh when I asked if her name's spelled like...

A. MUNOZ: Miley Cyrus.

MILEY MUNOZ: (Laughter).

FREDRICK: Being here is strange, they say. From where we're standing, we can see the 20-foot steel fence that guards the United States.

A. MUNOZ: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: Angel says, "I feel like we're 95 percent of the way to our goal. We'll see what happens next."

Getting to the United States has been a long time coming for the Munoz family. They first fled four years ago, but Miley was younger, and the journey was brutal. When they were arrested by Mexican migration agents, they were relieved to go home to Honduras. But then the gang threats they fled got worse.

A. MUNOZ: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: Angel says a gang threatened to kill all three of them. He drove a taxi in the city San Pedro Sula. Beyond losing at least half his earnings to gang extortion, they wanted Angel to drive around operatives and deliver drugs. He refused, and that brought death threats to the family. They moved to another town, but he says the gang found them again. Leaving was their only option, and the caravan seemed like the best way to do it.

But it hasn't been easy. Miley has asthma. And in the early days in Mexico, they walked more than 20 miles per day. Miley's inhaler ran out.

MILEY: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: "It feels like I'm drowning," Miley says.

A. MUNOZ: (Speaking Spanish).

DELMA MUNOZ: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: About 10 days ago, they say Miley came down with a high fever for three days. They thought about turning back. Then Miley got better, and they kept moving and made it to Tijuana.

I meet them the next morning at the pedestrian crossing at the San Ysidro port of entry in Tijuana. Thousands of people, both commuters and tourists, use this border crossing every day. A few of them are asylum-seekers.

Here in Tijuana, a makeshift system has developed as more and more asylum-seekers showed up. Border Patrol allows anywhere from 30 to 100 of them to cross per day, so migrants started a list to keep track of the backlog.

A. MUNOZ: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: "We're seeing if the line has moved," says Angel. The Munoz family put their names on the list two days ago.

A. MUNOZ: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: It may be two to three weeks before they can cross, Angel guesses, but he's not sure. The people crossing today waited more than a month. With a couple others waiting around, the family starts chatting about how asylum works, what Trump has done to change it, how it affects them. It's all very confusing and changing almost daily.

D. MUNOZ: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: Delma says, "others in the caravan tell us they're going to jump over the border, that we're being tricked here, that we're just going to be deported." But they trust the system - that if they could just see a judge, they'll be allowed to stay in the U.S.

A. MUNOZ: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: "Lots of people get desperate and leave," says Angel. But we've already been through the worst. We can wait. They just don't know how long.

For NPR News, I'm James Fredrick in Tijuana, Mexico.

(SOUNDBITE OF BON IVER SONG, "HOLOCENE")

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