After eight months of fleeing the violence exerted by the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) In Michoacán, a family of avocado growers managed to legally cross into the United States to start a new life.
Last Monday they called them by phone to let them know that they would have that opportunity; “That made them very happy,” recalled the pastor of the Agape church, Alberto Rivera.
All this time he welcomed them in his hostel. There they were able to live with other nationals and Central Americans fleeing gang violence and, although at first there were 35 who arrived, only 34 left for the United States, since the patriarch died in the shelter before the end of 2021.
“Sometimes they were ‘down’, downhearted because they didn’t know what was going to happen, whether or not they would be allowed to cross,” Rivera explained.
Between grandmothers, mothers, children, grandchildren and husbands, there are 34 avocado growers, as they were called to identify them.
In the two ranches they had in Aguililla “everything is full of avocado,” recalled Mayra, who does not give her last names for security reasons.
“Those people,” he explained, “take away the orchards, take away everything, and they don’t do anything. They simply take over it to make ‘kitchens’, to make their drugs”.
There “they took away our things, which was the only thing we had, and now we don’t have anything anymore,” said Berenice Peña.
This young wife and mother of a family does not hide her joy at not going through “hell” again, as she describes the time when the “narco” came to his family’s ranch to demand quotas.
Now he hopes that they will do well in the American Union and “be able to do something that they prevented us from doing in our country.”
On Wednesday afternoon they said goodbye to the friends they made during their stay at the pastor’s shelter in Tijuana, and were transferred to the Benito Juárez shelter, where they took the opportunity to take pictures and rest for the last time in a corner of Mexico.
“We are very happy because we are all leaving. They didn’t have to talk to some of us and then to others,” Mayra said.
“That is, they are giving us a ticket to be able to request asylum there, on that side,” he said with joy. There they will meet another group of his family who previously fled from Aguililla.
“This family is very special”, highlighted Pastor Albert, 24 members had already crossed from this same family, he said, “and now there are another 34, there are already almost 60; it seems that there are others more of his family that are to come”.
Finally, on Thursday morning they woke up at dawn to cross to San Diego, California, through the El Chaparral port, leaving their native Michoacán behind. and the violence that drove them away.