AMATLAN DE LOS REYES, Mexico – Two Honduran cousins are crossing Mexico convinced that Lady Luck will at last smile on them and get them into the US, a country where they hope to make the money they can’t make back home.
Fredy Hernandez and his cousin Miguel Angel left Honduras two weeks ago on the freight train from Central America known as The Beast.
When they reached Amatlan de los Reyes in Veracruz state, they got off the train to have a few days rest at the Las Patronas shelter, where Fredy, 33, told EFE that this will be his last trip: “I’ll try it once more and if it turns out the same, that’ll be it.”
“I’m getting older and I don’t have what I’d like – a house to call my home,” Fredy said, who has been deported twice on his way north, the last time after crossing the Rio Grande.
He has seen how people who owned nothing in Honduras went to the US and when they returned, had “a nice furnished house, a car and money to start a business.”
But the cousins had also seen less positive examples, people didn’t know how to manage their money. “In my neighborhood there’s a person who lived 25 years in the US. His mom and dad and some of his siblings died, and when he was suddenly deported to Honduras, he was broke,” Fredy said.
His idea is to spend five years in the United States to make money. Staying there to live permanently hasn’t crossed his mind.
“The way people tell it, there’s no sense in staying, it’s like living in prison. A golden cage, as they put it,” he said.
The cousins got off the train, walked down the road and entered the shelter, where they went through the routine backpack inspection.
One of the owners – women who for 20 years have provided bags of food for migrants traveling on The Beast – thought Miguel Angel looked familiar. “You crossed over before, right?” she said.
Of course. Miguel Angel, 32, knows what trying the American dream is like.
He spent three years in the US before being deported. He only learned a few words in English but managed to save enough money to buy a house in Honduras. Now he wanted to buy another for his mother.
The cousins haven’t really slept for two weeks, because there’s always the fear of armed groups robbing them and even throwing them off the train.
Stricter immigration controls imposed by the Donald Trump administration don’t alarm the two Hondurans. “It spurs me on,” Fredy said.
They have been warned that if caught for “illegally returning to America,” they should expect not deportation but two years behind bars.
That could happen, especially with Trump in power, but that’s not stopping them. “If we have to spend two years in prison, we’ll do it,” Miguel Angel said.