As Title 42 ends, Colombian native in Las Vegas shares journey across the border

Published: May. 12, 2023 at 10:47 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Title 42 has come to an end. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal policy allowed Customs and Border Patrol agents to quickly turn migrants away at the US Southern Border. Towns across the border are reporting a buildup of people looking to cross. The federal government is increasing the number of personnel charged with processing asylum claims and deciding on a case-by-case basis if migrants are fleeing legitimate danger in their home country.

On Thursday, FOX5 spoke directly to a man who just made the journey across the border and now calls Las Vegas home.

“He says he feels very safe. He feels at peace. He is no longer receiving any threats,” a translator said on behalf of Alavro Yesid Gonzalez Castilla. Gonzalez Castilla crossed six months ago escaping death threats in his home country of Colombia as he tried to become a police officer. The journey to the US was treacherous.

“Being able to cross the Rio Bravo was one of the most dangerous parts of the actual experience. He unfortunately was able to experience it with one of the children that crossed with him. The child was almost taken away by the current,” the translator relayed. Once at the border, Gonzalez Castilla was put on a bus and taken to a processing facility in Eagle Pass, Texas.

“One the things that he remembers was how the officers there treated them… they humiliated them,” the translator recounted.

Gonzalez Castilla said immigration agents treated humans like animals, cramming dozens of people in a small space.

“They had to sometimes share these mats to be able to sleep, sometime people didn’t have mats so they would have to sleep on the floor,” the translator added.

When Gonzalez Castilla arrived in Las Vegas where his uncle had secured work, a church group as well as Make the Road Nevada helped him. Erika Marquez with Make the Road, whose parents brought her to the US when she was 3, says the future is uncertain for so many with Title 42 coming to an end.

“We see them coming and asking for help, asking for refuge, asking for asylum... If they would have had to do what is being asked, I think it would have been near impossible for them to arrive here in the US,” Marquez asserted.

Gonzalez Castilla hopes sharing his story, his struggle, will inspire compassion for so many others also seeking a better life.

“He says that the reason it is very important and the reason it is necessary for us to open these borders is because people are literally suffering... They are at war in their own countries, and they are not being helped,” the translator described.

Thursday, Nevada’s sole republican in Congress Mark Amodei voted for new legislation, the Secure the Border Act to hire more Border Patrol agents.

In a statement, he said President Biden has failed to secure the border adding:

“It is not compassionate to ignore the large amounts of drugs coming through the border and killing Americans. It is not compassionate to embolden desperate migrants to make a journey where they could be raped or killed.”

As Title 42 ends, Nevada’s Senators Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto, along with Congresswoman Susie Lee sent a joint letter urging the Biden administration to increase resources and capacity at the border to provide support to vulnerable migrants.