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Open doors: Welcoming unaccompanied minors to a new life

December 17, 2015
Catholic Charities

This is the third of three Advent stories focusing on clients served by Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The theme of this series is “A Season of Mercy,” following in the footsteps of Pope Francis’ declaration of a Year of Mercy.

When Luis came to Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigrant Services, he had quite a story to tell. For Luis, living in Honduras was difficult and dangerous. When Luis was 12 years old, his father was killed by gunmen who wanted to extort money from him. In desperation, Luis’ mother had to leave Honduras for Spain so she could provide for Luis and his younger brother. But the boys, who were left in the care of their grandparents, were still living in fear.

In addition to being physically abused by his grandfather, Luis was constantly threatened and beaten up by violent gangs as he walked to and from school. Recognizing this danger, Luis’ grandmother implored him and his brother to leave Honduras. The two terrified boys, age 12 and 6, boarded a cargo train alone, bound for the United States.

When they finally made it to the U.S., they surrendered to the immigration authorities and eventually found their way to Catholic Charities. Staff members worked diligently to find them a home and to prepare a complete statement for their application for political asylum. The asylum claim was approved and the boys are no longer under the threat of getting deported to Honduras. For the first time in their lives they are secure and, equally important, they have hope for a safe and promising future.

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