16-year-old Honduran asylum seeker hopes for security in US: gangs 'killed two of my buddies'

Among the many asylum seekers profiled by photographer Brett Gundlock in Mexico Metropolis final month as they journeyed from Central America to the north was Mainor Isaac Meléndez Suazo, a teenager nicknamed “El Diablo” for his vivid purple sweatsuits. Meléndez, simply 16 years outdated, fled Honduras when he was threatened by gangs.

“Rising outdated is a privilege, not a proper,” Nationwide Geographic reported about kids and teenagers in Honduras, the place many are compelled into gangs. Meléndez instructed Mom Jones that a few of them “would hand around in entrance of his college, pressuring the youngsters to hitch.“ Refusing just isn’t an choice. “They killed two of my buddies,” he mentioned. “They killed two. They minimize off their heads. Everybody knew who they had been and the police did nothing.”

He left when “the gangs despatched threats by means of Fb, images of weapons and notes saying he would quickly meet their knife.” It’s unclear whether or not his household left with him, or if he’s by himself. “I didn’t say something to my household after I left,” mentioned Eduardo, a 14 yr outdated who did depart Honduras by himself. “I simply left with my baggage. I didn’t say something to my mother as a result of she was not going to let me come.”

A few of the folks photographed by Gundlock might have already reached the U.S./Mexico border, the place Trump administration officers have continued to violate the rights of asylum seekers, together with unaccompanied kids, by not permitting them to current themselves on the border. In a single such occasion, Congress member Pramila Jayapal was capable of intervene, however solely as a result of she had been current on the border to go to asylum seekers.

“Actually that’s all individuals are asking for, is the flexibility to have the ability to are available and begin the asylum course of, utterly authorized to take action, and really one thing that we’re required by worldwide and by our personal legal guidelines to do, is to permit folks to come back in and search asylum,” she later mentioned. 

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