Update On Deported Honduran Father NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro asks reporter James Fredrick and deported Honduran immigrant John for an update on John's life in Honduras and about his daughter, Marisol, who's still in the U.S.
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Update On Deported Honduran Father

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Update On Deported Honduran Father

Update On Deported Honduran Father

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

About a month ago, we heard from John. That's not his real name. He's a single father in his 30s. He'd fled Honduras with his daughter Marisol (ph). After they were separated at the border, John was deported to Honduras alone. We're only using their middle names because they fear for their safety. Reporter James Fredrick (ph) has been keeping in touch with John, and he joins us now from Mexico City with an update on this story. And John joins us on the line from Honduras. Good morning - buenos dias to both of you.

JAMES FREDRICK: Good morning.

JOHN: Buenos dias.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: James, I'm going to start with you. You told us John's story last month. You've been reporting on him. Can you remind us who he is and why he and his daughter had to leave Honduras and go to the United States?

FREDRICK: So John and Marisol fled Honduras back in May. They had been getting increasing gang threats there. They threatened Marisol with sexual violence, so John thought they had to leave. Once they got into the United States, officers told John they were going to take Marisol for just a moment to change her clothes, and then he never saw her again. John then said he was tricked and deceived by agents into signing some forms. And before he knew it, he was deported back to Honduras. His daughter Marisol is now in a facility for unaccompanied minors in the United States. He has really no way of getting in touch with her and just kind of sits around, waiting for her to call him.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So John has been speaking with his 14-year-old daughter on the phone over these past weeks. She's been calling, as you mentioned, from a shelter in Florida. And he's been recording the calls. And he provided some of that for us. Let's listen.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN: (Speaking Spanish).

MARISOL: (Speaking Spanish).

JOHN: (Speaking Spanish).

MARISOL: (Speaking Spanish).

JOHN: (Speaking Spanish).

MARISOL: (Speaking Spanish).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So, James, tell us what's happening there. What are they saying?

FREDRICK: So that's John, Marisol when they first get on the phone with each other. Sadly, they both kind of say, "I'm not doing very well." Marisol tells him, "I feel even worse inside here."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN: (Speaking Spanish).

MARISOL: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: They both say how desperate they're feeling.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: And then John just kind of ends by saying, you know, she's locked up. It's normal she feels desperate because it's kind of like she's in prison up in the United States.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: John, I want to bring you on the line for a minute and ask you when you started recording your daughter.

And I'm going to be translating these questions into Spanish. John, (speaking Spanish).

JOHN: (Through interpreter) Because I hope so it can help people see, hear that it's not easy to be there in detention. To be there is ugly, horrible. I know that my daughter is doing badly there, is suffering. Even if she's not suffering physically, she's suffering psychologically.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Let's listen now to another recording.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN: (Speaking Spanish).

MARISOL: (Speaking Spanish).

JOHN: (Speaking Spanish).

MARISOL: (Speaking Spanish).

JOHN: (Speaking Spanish).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So, James, Marisol here is telling her father that she has evidence that she's keeping hidden. Can you remind us what that's about?

FREDRICK: So, John - when he decided to flee Honduras, he had it in his mind - he didn't know exactly what it was, but he knew that he could ask for help or protection in the United States, so he brought evidence of threats against them. He brought evidence of his clean police record. He wanted to show, I've been threatened. I'm a good person. I'm not a criminal. And, you know, this is why I've come to the United States. Marisol held onto that in case she - you know, she is still requesting asylum. And she has this evidence to show why they fled Honduras.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: John, do you want Marisol to be able to stay in the United States and seek asylum there now, even though you're both separated?

JOHN: (Through translator) I always say my daughter comes first, and I have to speak up for her well-being. I prefer never to see her again than have her with me suffering and fleeing the gangs in this country. I prefer that she stay there and ask for asylum. Even if I don't ever get to see her again in the flesh in my life, I know she's better off there.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: To say that you'd never see her again - it must be very hard to say those words.

JOHN: (Through translator) For me, I'm not losing hope that I'll be able to see her again. But if life and circumstance don't permit that and all the injustices in this world don't allow it, then I'm going to resign myself to that.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So, James, as you've been reporting on this, what is next for this family? Father in Honduras, daughter in a facility in the United States. What happens now?

FREDRICK: So John has been in touch with some lawyers at nonprofits in the United States who are trying to reunite families and help them with their legal situations. What John is hoping for is - John has one brother who's already living in the United States. And he's hoping that Marisol can be released to live with him at least in the meantime. The issue there is that John's brother is in the United States undocumented. And so his brother is quite worried about being in touch with authorities or getting on their radar. So he is open to Marisol living with him, but he's very worried. So that's what happens next. But more than anything, what John just says over and over again is he's confused. He doesn't know what's happening. And this is something that I've heard over and over again from people who have been separated from their children - is that they are just confused and don't know what happens next.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: John, (speaking Spanish). If Marisol is released to your brother - will happen, what are your hopes for her in the United States?

JOHN: (Through translator) What I wish for her is the best. I hope she succeeds there, that she studies, that she fights for herself. I don't have a future here because of the problems I have with the gangs - the reason why I left. You spend your life running away. It's hard.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We'll be following this story as it continues with both James and John. That is reporter James Frederick from Mexico City. And John was on the line from Honduras. Thank you both so very much. (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: Thank you.

JOHN: Gracias. Gracias.

(SOUNDBITE OF CITY OF THE SUN'S "THOSE DAYS ARE NOW")

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