Gabriela Hernandez and her two boys joined the “migrant caravan” of travelers across Mexico toward the United States, some hoping to cross the border. This is her story of the journey, compiled from multiple visits and interviews.
She is late.
Gabriela Hernandez has missed the caravan marching north.
As she realizes her mistake, she also knows she can’t let it go.
She scrounges up enough coins to pay for a taxi. Not knowing exactly where the group is, they simply head north, asking along the way in the hope they will catch up with the group.
The pregnant mother of two has never before left Honduras. Now, she has fled her country, crossed Guatemala and found herself in the southern Mexican border city of Tapachula.
“I was very scared. I didn’t even have a dollar for a hotel,” she says later.
When she arrived with her two little boys, she didn’t know whom to trust.
And in the back of her mind, she is also thinking about the talk among the migrants. She has heard about “la hieleras,” the coolers, the migrants’ nickname for cold ICE detention facilities.
She has heard she could be held for months. But, it’s the talk of family separation that worries her most right now.
Immigration authorities say they do not normally split mothers from their children, but that does not stop the fear.
“Omar already tells me, ‘I don’t want to be far away from you. I will cry.’”