NYC migrant crisis: One migrant's treacherous journey revealed

For many migrants arriving in New York City, the journey to reach the United States was a desperate and dangerous one, driven by violence or lack of opportunity in their home country.

That certainly applies to Yasmelis Rodriguez, a migrant from Venezuela who is now living in a shelter in New York City with her husband, hoping to find a job so she can get money to send back home to her four-year-old daughter and family.

The couple are currently staying at the NYPD's former Manhattan Police Academy Building on East 20th Street, along with hundreds of other migrants.

"There are more than 300 people at that shelter, I don't know how many exactly," Rodriguez told FOX 5 New York. "Even the bathrooms collapse due to the number of people because there is no space, but they give us breakfast, lunch and dinner."


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The pair's journey to the United States took 42 days, traveling by foot from Venezuela to Colombia, before crossing the treacherous Darien Gap that links Colombia to Panama. 

The jungle is known as one of the world's most dangerous migrant routes and is filled with wild animals and gang violence.

"You see many things," Rodriguez said. "…there are dead people just lying there. There are wild animals like snakes, monkeys... it's hard." 

Rodriguez also mentioned that in the jungle, you can't bring clothing because you have to carry water, and there are so many dead people in the rivers that the water is undrinkable.

Upon reaching Panama, Rodriguez and her husband traveled to Costa Rica, then Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and finally Mexico. 

Rodriguez described Mexico as the toughest in terms of treatment from immigration authorities.


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With schools opening their doors to migrant children, it has reportedly created little to no space for the students to use science equipment and music instruments.

"The hardest treatment was Mexico, not with the people from there, they are very good, but with the immigration folks, it is hard," Rodriguez said. "I don't know if it's their job, but they treat us so bad, they insult us, and it shouldn't be like that we are all human beings."

After crossing the border, they turned themselves in, and Border Patrol agents screened them, took their information, and later released them. They ended up in San Antonio, where organizations helped them with their airfare to New York City. 

The couple left their 4-year-old daughter behind in Venezuela with family, saying that there is no way to survive int heir home country and that they are hoping to be able to work and send money back home.

"Do you know what it is to get paid $28-$30 a month? It's hard. You can't even buy a whole chicken," Rodriguez said.

Now in New York City, they hope to be transferred to a better shelter with more privacy. They are eager to work but understand that it may take time.

"We didn't come here to live off the government," Rodriguez said. "We came to work, to support our family and support ourselves."

For now, they are counting on the goodness of New Yorkers to get by each day.