As Honduran immigrants makes the long and perilous journey into the United States, President Donald Trump is threatening to cut off resources to the countries that didn’t put an end to the caravan and, once again, attempting to paint Central Americans as criminals. In a series of tweets on Monday, Trump said, “Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National [Emergency]. Must change laws!” But while Trump tries to once again tie all Central American immigrants to MS-13, a 12-year-old unaccompanied minor has become one of the faces of the caravan.
Last week, Mario David Castellanos went viral after an image of an officer restraining the young crying boy spread across the internet. Outlets reported that an officer aggressively grabbed him and hurt his shoulder. While he received medical attention, Mario said that he sometimes missed school to sell chewing gum so that he could help his family, El Comercio reports. Gangs had also tried to recruit him, so the young boy decided to leave so he could continue his schooling and for better opportunities, Publinews reports.
As his story has spread far and wide and people have even offered up to help Mario, his parents – who didn’t give him permission to leave – are also sharing their stories. His dad, José Mario Castellanos, said that though the family doesn’t have many resources, that the young boy has never gone hungry. “I didn’t realize until he called me from Copán that he was in the caravan en route to the United States,” he said. “His desire is to help us.”
In an interview with Hoy Mismo over the weekend, David said that he felt desperate and that he didn’t know what to do. “I ask mi Diosito to watch over him and protect him,” he added.
Mario’s mom was similarly distraught. According to his mom, Dilcia Murillo, David asked his dad for permission to run an errand and said he’d return in the afternoon.
As his parents give teary interviews, it’s a reminder of how immigrating is not an easy process. Unfortunately, it’s stories like these that Trump doesn’t see or doesn’t attempt to understand. Instead, he categorizes them as a big threat and tells them to immigrate “legally” (even though he has also made it more difficult for poor people to come into the US). Immigration yields a lot of heartache and struggle, and Mario and his family are just one example of this.