NPR

'I Want To Be Sure My Son Is Safe': Asylum-Seekers Send Children Across Border Alone

Some migrant parents who were told to wait in Mexico under President Trump's asylum policies are sending their children, unaccompanied, across the bridge to surrender to U.S. agents.
Migrant parents in the tent camps in Matamoros, Mexico, are sending their kids across the border and taking advantage of the rule that unaccompanied children can't be returned to Mexico. Here, Alexis Martinez holds a cellphone photo of his 7-year-old son Osiel. Source: John Burnett

Alexis Martinez, a Honduran man who traveled with his two young sons to seek asylum in the United States, last saw them holding hands, their faces streaked with tears, bravely walking across the Gateway International Bridge into Texas — alone.

After weeks in a makeshift refugee camp in the Mexican border town of Matamoros, Martinez knew he had to send 5-year-old Benjamin and 7-year-old Osiel without him. Benjamin had contracted bronchial pneumonia, and Martinez couldn't afford any more antibiotics.

"They were sleeping on the ground, in the cold. These tents are not good for children because the cold goes right through them," Martinez said in Spanish. "Sometimes you do things not because you're a bad father, but because

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