EL PASO, Texas — With thousands of Central American migrants turning themselves in to Border Patrol every day to ask for asylum, the U.S. is running out of space to hold them. So starting a few months ago, ICE has been releasing them from detention into communities on the border.
Dropped into a country they know nothing about, often with no resources, their fate is left in the hands of Good Samaritans, nonprofits, churches, and even helpful bus station employees.
VICE News followed Brenda del Carmen, a young mother who had never before left the Honduran village where she was born, in the days after she was released. With her four-month-old infant in tow, she tried to make her way from El Paso to Chicago, where her husband and 5-year-old daughter had gone two months earlier. Like many others in their small farming community, their coffee crops had fallen sick that year.
"Honduras is really poor right now," she said. "There is no hope."
Facing destitution, the family gathered funds to pay a coyote to bring them to the U.S. Brenda traveled for a week with her infant Kimberly, presented herself to Border Patrol, and after a week in ICE custody, was released. She then spent more than 24 hours straight traveling through Texas, Arkansas, and Illinois to reach her family.
This segment originally aired April 26, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.