Families Divided

"We live in fear": Honduran family seeking asylum left stranded on a bridge

In a video from the border, immigrant Walter Vindel describes how he left Honduras with his wife and children to escape gangs that killed their relatives — and is praying for safe harbor into the U.S. "We are not bad people," he says.

Families Divided

The Trump administration's “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which led to the separation of children from adults who crossed the border illegally, has fueled a national outcry. Sign up for our ongoing coverage. Send story ideas to tips@texastribune.org.

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Many families arriving at U.S. ports of entry to seek asylum left their home countries months before recent changes in how border and immigration officials handle their requests went into effect.

Walter and Helen Vindel say they left Honduras with their four children this year to escape gangs that killed relatives and extorted money from them. By the time they arrived in Matamoros, Mexico, to cross a bridge and seek asylum at a Brownsville border station, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had ruled that people fleeing only gang or domestic violence don't necessarily qualify for asylum.

On a Sunday in June, the Vindel family waited on the bridge with other migrants as U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents prevented many from making it on to U.S. soil to begin the asylum process.