Surge of immigrant families crossing U.S. border

It's a seemingly endless flow of families arriving night and day

(Credit: CNN)

(CNN) – It’s a second south Texas border surge, and there are hardly any empty seats on the unmarked buses that pull into McAllen’s central station.

Thousands of undocumented Central American families fleeing crime and poverty are again saturating America’s immigration system. They turn themselves into authorities at the border, are processed, and then are released wearing an ankle monitor and the promise of returning for a court date.

Before heading north, Carlos Cardona and his four-year-old son made a brief stop at the Humanitarian Respite Center, which opened its doors during the immigration surge of 2014. It’s run by Sister Norma Pimentel, who said, “The violence, instead of diminishing, is escalating. So, we have families that fear for their lives, especially of their kids.”

Volunteers have been walking these families from the bus station to the shelter, and back, for already two years now. What’s new are the numbers that we have been seeing lately. You hear from some of the officials in south Texas, and they will tell you there’s another reason why so many people are rushing to the U.S.

Mayor Jim Darling of McAllen, Texas, said, “They all know about President Trump, they all know about a wall. When you talk to them they know that.”

Mayor Darling suspects it’s no longer just violence and poverty in Central America fueling this new wave. Darling noted, “If you are talking about building a fence and we are not going to let a lot of people in, you better get over here now before January and the swearing-in ceremony.”

Among the crowds, CNN found 17-year-old Diriam Fuentes and her father Neri. Fuentes said she fears being returned to her native Honduras.

On the banks of the Rio Grande, more migrants emerge out of the darkness and turn themselves into authorities. It’s a seemingly endless flow of families arriving night and day.

Sister Pimentel explained, “There is a big fear in our community about what is going to happen. Ultimately, we have to respond to the fact that they’re human beings.”

Carlos Cardona and his son are starting the U.S. stretch of his journey. Like so many others who are now in their shoes, they face an uncertain future.