A transgender woman who is a member of a caravan of Central American migrants entered the United States border and customs facility from the Mexican city of Tijuana on Tuesday, where she is expected to apply for asylum.
Channel, a 28-year-old Honduran, said she has had to endure a gruelling journey, following the route of La Bestia — the freight train on which Central American men, women and children band together as a caravan to make the brutal 20-day journey through Mexico.
She has slept rough, in parks, under bridges, shelters, churches but Channel said she had no option but to leave her country, as she faced discrimination because of her sexual orientation back home.
"I don't think I'll ever return to my country because I don't think I'd survive to tell my story. I have already survived an attack and it's very difficult. I've already been between life and death. I was in a coma for three days and I wouldn't want that for me," she said.
Channel added it was difficult to seek a new life in the United States, where she and her friends do not know the customs of the country or the laws.
"A lot of us don't know what awaits us behind that wall but we continue to believe in God. We continue to believe that Trump is not a God who can continue to build more walls," Channel told Reuters, adding she was optimistic she would find a brighter future with more acceptance up north.
"In the United States, I see myself sleeping calmly. I see myself sleeping better. Not only myself but my friends, where we are able to obtain more respect where there is no bullying against us. Where people don't shout at us. Where the decision of each person is truly respected, such as the decision of being trans women," added Channel.
More asylum-seekers from the caravan continue to trickle into the United States on Wednesday with 49 of them, most of them women and children, have reached U.S. soil, lifting the spirits of the more than 100 members of the caravan left on the Mexican side of the border who camped out on the cold for a third straight night.
These migrants have traveled about 2,000 miles through Central America on a journey that has angered President Donald Trump, who wants to tighten immigration laws to make it harder for people to claim asylum.