• Central American children share story of journey to find mother

    By: Stephanie Coueignoux


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Nelson, 14, and his sister Erica, 10, left Honduras in February on a mission to find their mother.
    They spoke to us through a translator explaining why they had to leave.
    “There was a lot of violence and that people would hit him,” Nelson said.
    “Her grandmother would wake her up at 2 or 3 in the morning to make the food and make sure everything was all set,” Erica said, with help from a translator.

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    They matter-of-factly describe taking a journey by themselves more than 1,400 miles, explaining how they found their way by bus though Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and finally to the border of Texas.
    “They would ask people to help them with money to be able to keep going on their journey,” Erica said through a translator.
    One thought kept them going, “Mama. He said his mother,” Nelson told the translator.
    Their mother, Maria, was here in Charlotte. She had left Honduras in 2007 when her children were just 7 and 3 years old.
    Because she's also undocumented, she couldn't return.
    Nelson remembers waiting for days at a Texas detention center before officials found their mother and brought them to Charlotte.
    “She went to go and get them and see them running to her, she was full of emotion,” Maria told a translator.
    For Nelson, as composed as he is, that moment was overwhelming, “He even cried, because he hadn't seen her in seven years.”
    “Life is beautiful and marvelous because she's with her mom now,” Erica said.
    Maria is now praying she won't have to say goodbye to them a second time, “God was with them to keep them safe. She definitely wants to be able to fight to be able to stay.”
    Both children have enrolled at schools in the Charlotte area.
    We asked CMS how many undocumented children they expect to enroll this year.
    A school spokesman told us they don't know, because federal law prohibits them from asking about a student's immigration status.
    The spokesman said they aren't taking any special measures to prepare for this increase in students.

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