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Border & Immigration

‘We’re Not Sleeping Because We’re So Happy’: Family Sent Back To Mexico Finally Reaches US

Gerson Eduardo Cano and his family pose for a photo in a San Diego hotel, shortly after being processed for asylum at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, Feb. 26, 2021.
Gerson Eduardo Cano
Gerson Eduardo Cano and his family pose for a photo in a San Diego hotel, shortly after being processed for asylum at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, Feb. 26, 2021.

Gerson Eduardo Cano, 36, left Honduras with his wife and their two young children two years ago. They were fleeing political violence in their home country.

But when they came to the Texas border in 2019 to claim asylum, they were enrolled in the “Remain in Mexico” program. They were made to wait in a dangerous border city while their court dates in the U.S. were repeatedly delayed. After an assault, the family moved to Tijuana on the advice of their lawyer, where they waited for another year for their day in court.

This week, they finally were allowed into the U.S., as one of the first families processed by the Biden administration after it ended the “Remain in Mexico” program.

We’re Not Sleeping Because We’re So Happy’: Family Sent Back To Mexico Finally Reaches US

RELATED: At The San Diego-Tijuana Border, Asylum-Seekers Admitted Back Into The US

On Friday, they were in a hotel in San Diego, where they spoke to KPBS by phone. Cano explained the new process to enter the U.S., where qualifying asylum-seekers must register on a website, was very difficult.

“We were trying all day, through cell phone, through a computer, but there was too much traffic, everyone was entering the system,” Cano said .

They finally were processed that night, and given an entry date for March 8th. But last Tuesday they received a call at 8 a.m., telling them to be ready to go within the hour. After taking COVID-19 tests, they were processed on Wednesday and are now in a hotel in San Diego, which is being paid for by the county.

Around twenty-five families are being processed at the San Ysidro Port of Entry each day. Many spend two to three nights in a hotel before going to meet families or sponsors elsewhere in the country.

“We’re not sleeping because we’re so happy,” Cano said. “I was just telling my mother that president Joe Biden is fulfilling his campaign promise. I’m very thankful to the administration for the rapid implementation of this program.”

The family is flying on Friday to meet family in Minnesota, where they’ll continue their asylum case. They say they’ve been given some winter coats for their arrival.