(WASHINGTON) — Migrants from Latin and South America, who have traveled through dangerous conditions to make it to the U.S., have had a powerful new tool to tell their stories to the entire world in the last couple of years.
TikTok videos, tweets, and other social media posts from these migrants, showing moments such as their struggle through mud, expressing fear about their family’s safety and the hope of a better future in America, have gone viral over the last couple of months. For many of these individuals, it was the best way to show people their struggle.
“I wanted to document what migrants like me have to go through to get to the United States. This is not only my story, but also the story of many people,” Lionel Baquero, a former professor and computer engineer major who fled Cuba last year, told ABC News. “Many people have made the same journey I did. The difference is that it was not documented.”
As uncertainty rises over the status of migrants seeking refuge in the U.S., Baquero and other migrants said they hope their videos can sway minds.
Daniel Noguera posted several videos last year when he and his daughters Nathaniel and Danielis walked eight days through the Darien gap, the dense forest between Colombia and Panama.
Noguera, a Venezuelan native who is now living in the U.S., told ABC News the experience was traumatic for the family.
“There was a time when my daughter’s life was in danger. She almost fell off a cliff. My God, I thought I was going to crumble,” he said.
Still, Noguera said he had to go on this journey because the current political and economic climate in his country made it more dangerous to stay.
“We would hear rumors that they wanted to kill us, that they wanted to harm us because we opposed the government,” he said.
Last week, President Joe Biden announced a new border strategy that would allow up to 30,000 migrants per month to seek asylum as long as they meet specific criteria.
Applicants will need sponsorship in the U.S. and are required to pass background checks. Those who cross into the U.S. illegally will be disqualified.
Noguera said that many migrants want to get a sponsor and come to the U.S. legally, but the strict criteria are major hurdles.
“If we could get our papers, trust me that no one would put their lives in danger to get here. No one,” he said.
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