Immigrant teen who crossed border shares his personal story
(FOX 11) - Dozens of immigrant children have reportedly arrived in Los Angeles since the enforcement of President Trump's zero tolerance immigration policy.
Today we shed light on one teen who made the trip.
He's not part of these recent detentions-- but knows all too well what it feels like to make that trip across the border.
Casa Libre is a group home for undocumented immigrant youth. It can house up to 14 young men. We met one resident fled Guatemala in search of a better life.
Fearing gang violence, 18 year-old Santiago Lopez describes the harrowing 25 day journey he says he undertook alone in august of 2017 traveling from his native Guatemala through Mexico to the U.S. border.
"traveling on a bus... Hiding in a bathroom... No food no water. " said Lopez.
He, like so many others says he left everything behind seeking a better life. Lopez tells us how he was caught illegally crossing the border near Calexico and taken into ins custody.
After three days he was sent a facility for immigrant children in San Diego. Santiago says he spent 8 months there before being transferred here to Casa Libre, a non profit home for undocumented youth in LA..
"I'm very happy... I feel lucky... Blessed and I thank god." said Lopez.
Immigrant rights advocates say, there are about 100 migrant children in Los Angeles since the start of president trump's zero tolerance policy. After intense public outcry, the president signed an executive order which would keep immigrant families together but local activists are now concerned about the more than two-thousand kids currently separated from their parents.
"The executive order came down but that's not enough... How are we going to go about reuniting the children with their families." said Karla Cortez, attorney for CHRLA.
As for Santiago Lopez, the soft spoken teen is currently attending high school and seeking a green card. As for his future,he says he wants to be a rap star and gave us a sample of a song he wrote about his life.
Officials from Casa Libre were meeting this afternoon with the office of refugee resettlement to discuss housing more immigrant youth. The facility is licensed for up to 14 young men. Currently there are five staying here.