A young woman who spent weeks traveling with a caravan of Central American migrants while pregnant gave birth in San Diego after crossing illegally into the U.S. to request asylum.
Maryuri was more than seven months pregnant when she left Honduras with her husband, Miguel, and their three-year-old son on Oct. 17. The family spent weeks traveling north by foot and by bus until they reached Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.
“He was born here in San Diego,” Maryuri said holding her eight-day-old child — a United States citizen by birth — in an interview with NBC 7’s sister station, Telemundo 20.
The already-difficult journey to get to the United States was made even more complicated for the family because of Maryuri’s pregnancy.
“Thank God she did her part, but there were times we stayed until the last [of the caravan],” Miguel said.
After spending some time in a Tijuana shelter, the couple said they did not feel safe, surrounded by some Mexicans who were hostile towards their presence, and decided to cross the border illegally.
According to the Customs and Border Protection officials, on Monday, Nov. 26, agents assigned to patrol the Imperial Beach coast spotted the pregnant woman attempting to cross.
It was about 8 p.m. when the couple asked for asylum from the United States and was taken into custody, they told NBC 7’s sister station, Telemundo 20.
Maryuri said she did not know the next day she would give birth to her second son in a San Diego hospital.
“The day I came across felt a little pain, but I thought it will be because of my nerves,” Maryuri said. The next morning, the pain increased and the woman was taken to a hospital in San Diego, according to CBP.
The baby was born on Nov. 27, 2018.
The mother and son spent several more days at the hospital, where she said at times, “I felt like a criminal.”
Maryuri said CBP agents closed all the windows and stood guard in the doorway at all times. When hospital officials brought her and the infant food or clothes, agents checked all of it, according to Maryuri.
Miguel was allowed to visit his wife and newborn child on the third day of their stay and when Maryuri was released from the hospital, she was sent back to a detention center to finish her asylum claim.
The family on Saturday was released into the United States until their asylum claim can be seen by a judge.
They have been staying with an American woman who volunteered to house refugees. The two were put in touch by Enrique Morales, the leader of the Border Angels Foundation, a San Diego non-profit focused on migrant rights.
Maryuri credits him with giving them strength to continue fighting for asylum within the United States.
“I asked him and he asked God to give us encouragement to move on.”
Her second reason — a better life for her newborn son.