NPR’s Weekend Edition: Honduran TPS Holder Father Meets Son for First Time
For NPR’s Weekend Edition, Lulu Garcia-Navarro speaks with a Honduran man and his son who were reunited in the U.S. for the first time in their lives. The father is a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holder and his son an asylum seeker. Although the two are reunited for the time being, they now must worry about what’s ahead after the Trump administration terminated TPS for over 300,000 TPS holders, including over 57,000 Hondurans.
With his family’s fate hanging in the balance, this father is forced to face the idea that he may be separated again from his son if TPS holders’ status is allowed to expire. His message for Congress is this: “[do] not forget that we need them, and they need us. And whatever deal they make, it should help us and also help this country.”
The story is below and available online here.
We catch up with a Honduran father and son caught between President Trump’s immigration policies. The son has claimed asylum in the U.S. The father has Temporary Protected Status, which is set to end.
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST: We’re now going to update you on a story we’ve been following about two people caught between President Trump’s many immigration policies. This past week, at a big city airport, a man and his son met face-to-face for the first time.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: In the video, you can see the father rushing out to greet his son, hugging him long and hard.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: To recap their story, the father is from Honduras and has been in the United States since the 1990s. He had temporary protected status or TPS, which President Trump announced he won’t renew. The son, without the dad’s knowledge, joined one of the caravans cited by President Trump last year. And he ended up at the border desperate to join his father in the United States. We’ve brought them back together to pick up their story. We are not using their names for their protection.
The son says he saw the caravan announced on Facebook in Honduras. And he decided to join it. It was, he says, a perilous journey.
UNIDENTIFIED SON: (Through interpreter) We came on foot. On the way, there were times when we would eat and times when we wouldn’t. We just had to endure it. We were always afraid. Why? – because we left our country to go to another country that we didn’t understand. We kept up with the news while we were traveling. And we knew that President Trump was fighting to stop us from coming to the United States.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: He eventually arrived in Tijuana, where, initially, they were put up in a migrant shelter. But then there was a terrible storm, and everything was destroyed.
UNIDENTIFIED SON: (Through interpreter) That was really sad. We had to sleep on the street for almost two weeks in tents. Then they put us up in an empty shop. And I stayed there for more than a week. There were groups that gave us food and clothing.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: He decided to finally take action. And amid the debate about walls, he says, he ended up sneaking across the one in California, entering the United States illegally. Once on the other side, he was taken in by Border Patrol, processed and let go after he said he was seeking asylum. He made his way to his dad last Thursday.
UNIDENTIFIED SON: (Through interpreter) God helped me get to my father, and I need to take advantage of that.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We should say here that the reason he’s never met his father face-to-face was because he was born a few months after his dad left Honduras. And the rules around TPS meant his dad was never able to go back to his home country and visit his son. They knew each other only over FaceTime. The father, who makes a good living in the U.S. as a handyman, said he instantly recognized his son when he finally saw him.
This must have been a very emotional meeting since you had never really met your son face-to-face. How do you feel now that you are able to see him? (Speaking in Spanish).
UNIDENTIFIED FATHER: (Through interpreter) It was incredibly exciting. I feel so happy to have felt that emotion. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. We never thought it would actually happen.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: But now, even though they’re together, the uncertainty around their futures remain. The father still doesn’t know if he’ll have to leave when his TPS expires in 2020. President Trump offered to extend the canceled TPS protections during the shutdown talks but nothing has been resolved.
UNIDENTIFIED FATHER: (Through interpreter) We’ve been watching what’s been going on. And we have faith that it will be resolved. My message for the politicians is to not forget that we need them, and they need us. And whatever deal they make, it should help us and also help this country.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: The son will have an asylum hearing next month where his fate could also be decided. President Trump has made it harder for migrants to get asylum in the United States. So I asked him…
You know, there are many people who would listen to this story, and they think that what you did was wrong and that the system is broken. What would your response be to that?
UNIDENTIFIED SON: (Through interpreter) I would say that I came because of a dream to try to make my life better.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: The day they met father and son went out to eat. And then his dad took him home and put him to bed to rest as he never could when he was a child. They both say they want to enjoy the time that they have together for as long as it lasts.