ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-day
47°
Clear
H 66° L 49°
  • clear-day
    47°
    Current Conditions
    Clear. H 66° L 49°
  • clear-night
    58°
    Evening
    Clear. H 66° L 49°
  • clear-day
    51°
    Morning
    Sunny. H 76° L 58°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest newscast

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

World
Man's harrowing journey to US underscores immigration shift
Close

Man's harrowing journey to US underscores immigration shift

Man's harrowing journey to US underscores immigration shift
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Amanda Loman
In this Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018, photo, Abdoulaye Camara, an immigrant from Mauritania, waits at the Dasmesh Darbar Sikh temple in Salem, Ore. Camara was one of 124 migrants who were detained near the border with Mexico in May 2018, and sent to a federal prison in Oregon, the result of the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

Man's harrowing journey to US underscores immigration shift

The young man traversed Andean mountains, plains and cities in buses, took a harrowing boat ride in which five fellow migrants drowned, walked through thick jungle for days, and finally reached the U.S.-Mexico border.

Then Abdoulaye Camara, from the poor West African country of Mauritania, asked U.S. officials for asylum.

Camara's arduous journey highlights how immigration to the United States through its southern border is evolving. Instead of being almost exclusively people from Latin America, the stream of migrants crossing the Mexican border these days includes many who come from the other side of the world.

Almost 3,000 citizens of India were apprehended entering the U.S. from Mexico last year. In 2007, only 76 were. The number of Nepalese rose from just four in 2007 to 647 last year. More people from Africa are also seeking to get into the United States, with hundreds having reached Mexican towns across the border from Texas in recent weeks, according to local news reports from both sides of the border.

Camara's journey began more than a year ago in the small town of Toulel, in southern Mauritania. He left Mauritania, where slavery is illegal but still practiced, "because it's a country that doesn't know human rights," he said.

Camara was one of 124 migrants who ended up in a federal prison in Oregon after being detained in the U.S. near the border with Mexico in May, the result of the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy.

He was released Oct. 3, after he had passed his "credible fear" exam, the first step on obtaining asylum, and members of the community near the prison donated money for his bond. He was assisted by lawyers working pro bono.

"My heart is so gracious, and I am so happy. I really thank my lawyers who got me out of that detention," Camara said in French as he rode in a car away from the prison.

Camara's journey was epic, yet more people are making similar treks to reach the United States. It took him from his village on the edge of the Sahara desert to Morocco by plane and then a flight to Brazil. He stayed there 15 months, picking apples in orchards and saving his earnings as best he could. Finally he felt he had enough to make it to the United States.

All that lay between him and the U.S. border was 6,000 miles (9,700 kilometers).

"It was very, very difficult," said Camara, 30. "I climbed mountains, I crossed rivers. I crossed many rivers, the sea."

Camara learned Portuguese in Brazil and could understand a lot of Spanish, which is similar, but not speak it very well. He rode buses through Brazil, Peru and Colombia. Then he and others on the migrant trail faced the most serious obstacle: the Darien Gap, a 60-mile (97-kilometer) stretch of roadless jungle straddling the border of Colombia and Panama.

But first, he and other travelers who gathered in the town of Turbo, Colombia, had to cross the Gulf of Uraba, a long and wide inlet from the Caribbean Sea. Turbo, on its southeast shore, has become a major point on the migrant trail, where travelers can resupply and where human smugglers offer boat rides.

Camara and about 75 other people boarded a launch for Capurgana, a village next to the Panamanian border on the other end of the gulf.

While the slow-moving boat was far from shore, the seas got very rough.

"There was a wave that came and tipped over the canoe," Camara said. "Five people fell into the water, and they couldn't swim."

They all drowned, he said. The survivors pushed on.

Finally arriving in Capurgana after spending two nights on the boat, the migrants split into smaller groups to cross the infamous Darien Gap, a wild place that has tested the most seasoned of travelers. The thick jungle hides swamps that can swallow a man. Lost travelers have died, and been devoured, boots and all, by packs of wild boars, or have been found, half out of their minds.

Camara's group consisted of 37 people, including women — two of them pregnant, one from Cameroon and one from Congo — and children.

"We walked seven days and climbed up into the mountains, into the forest," Camara said. "When it was night, we slept on the ground. We just kept walking and sleeping, walking and sleeping. It was hard."

One man, who was around 26 and from the African nation of Guinea, died, perhaps from exhaustion combined with thirst, Camara said.

By the sixth day, all the drinks the group had brought with them were gone. They drank water from a river. They came across a Panamanian man and his wife, who sold them some bananas for $5, Camara said.

Once he got out of the jungle, Camara went to Panamanian immigration officials who gave him travel documents enabling him to go on to Costa Rica, which he reached by bus. In Costa Rica, he repeated that process in hopes of going on to Nicaragua. But he heard authorities there were not so accommodating, so he and about 100 other migrants took a boat around Nicaragua, traveling at night along its Pacific coast.

"All we could see were the lights of Nicaragua," he said. Then it was over land again, in cars, buses and sometimes on foot, across Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico, all the way to the U.S. border at Tijuana. He was just about out of money and spent the night in a migrant shelter.

On May 20, he crossed into San Ysidro, south of San Diego.

"I said, 'I came, I came. I'm from Africa. I want help,'" he said.

He is going to stay with a brother in Philadelphia while he pursues his asylum request.

___

Andrew Selsky on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andrewselsky

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A judge is set to rule Friday in the lawsuit filed earlier this week by CNN against President Donald Trump and his top aides. >> Read more trending news Attorneys for the news network are arguing that Trump and his aides violated both the network’s and reporter Jim Acosta's constitutional rights when he was banned from the White House last week. Update 8:45 a.m. EST Nov. 15: U.S. District Court Judge Timothy J. Kelly is set to rule Friday on CNN’s request to have Acosta’s press credentials reinstated. Update 1:05 p.m. EST Nov. 15: A judge on Thursday delayed a scheduled ruling on the case, CNN’s chief media correspondent Brian Stelter said, citing court records. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy J. Kelly is scheduled to hand down his decision at 10 a.m. Friday on whether to grant a temporary restraining order in the case.  Update 5:40 p.m. EST Nov. 14: The judge in the CNN lawsuit against President Donald Trump and other administration officials over banning reporter Jim Acosta from the White House said he’ll issue a ruling Thursday at 3 p.m., according to news outlets. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy J. Kelly heard arguments from both sides in a two hour hearing Wednesday afternoon. It’s the first hearing in CNN and Acosta’s federal lawsuit against Trump and other administration officials over the suspension of Acosta’s White House press pass. The network and Acosta contend the suspension violated the First and Fifth Amendments. The White House said in a Justice Department filing Wednesday that it has “broad discretion” to decide which journalists get permanent press passes. Journalism advocates said that the White House position is a break with historical tradition, with past administrations granting press access to large and small news outlets, and that the Acosta suspension is an unprecedented step that could have a negative impact on journalism. Update 12:05 p.m. EST Nov. 14: In a court filing Wednesday, the Justice Department argued, 'No journalist has a First Amendment right to enter the White House,' after CNN sued the Trump administration for revoking Acosta’s press credentials, The Hill reported. 'The president and White House possess the same broad discretion to regulate access to the White House for journalists (and other members of the public) that they possess to select which journalists receive interviews, or which journalists they acknowledge at press conferences,' attorneys said in the filing, according to The Hill. Attorneys for CNN filed suit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington. A judge scheduled a hearing in the case for 3 p.m. Wednesday. Update 11:45 a.m. EST Nov. 14: More than a dozen news organizations on Wednesday announced their intent to support CNN in the network’s suit against the Trump administration. 'Whether the news of the day concerns national security, the economy, or the environment, reporters covering the White House must remain free to ask questions,' officials from organizations including The Associated Press and The New York Times, said Wednesday in a joint statement.  'It is imperative that independent journalists have access to the President and his activities, and that journalists are not barred for arbitrary reasons.' Update 11:15 a.m. EST Nov. 14: Fox News plans to file an amicus brief in support of CNN in the news network's lawsuit against the Trump administration, Fox News president Jay Wallace said Wednesday in a statement. 'Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized,' Wallace said. 'While we don't condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people.' CNN filed suit against Trump and several officials Tuesday, days after reporter Jim Acosta had his press credentials revoked following a contentious exchange with the president. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused Acosta in a statement released after the incident of “placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern.” Update 10:25 p.m. EST Nov. 13: A federal judge has given the Trump administration until 11 a.m. Wednesday morning to respond to CNN’s lawsuit demanding a temporary restraining order in the battle over the White House’s revocation of reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials, according to The Washington Post. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Washington. CNN’s attorney said the network is considering whether to request financial damages in its claim against President Donald Trump. Original report: In the lawsuit, filed in D.C. District Court, attorneys for CNN asked for Acosta’s press credentials to be immediately reinstated and protected. >> White House suspends CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials “While the suit is specific to CNN and Acosta, this could have happened to anyone,” CNN officials said in a statement. “If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials.” Attorneys for CNN named six defendants in the suit, including Trump, chief of staff John Kelly and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The lawsuit alleged the decision to revoke Acosta’s credentials was a “severe and unprecedented punishment” following “years of hostility by President Trump against CNN and Acosta based on the contents of their reporting.” >> Sarah Sanders tweeted ‘doctored’ video of Jim Acosta: WaPost “(It’s) an unabashed attempt to censor the press and exclude reporters from the White House who challenge and dispute the President’s point of view,” CNN attorneys said in the lawsuit. Acosta’s press credentials were suspended Wednesday after a White House intern attempted to take his microphone during a news conference with Trump. Huckabee Sanders released a statement after the incident accusing Acosta of “placing his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern.”
  • While allies of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi pressed hard this week to put her on the way to become the next Speaker of the House, a small group of Democratic holdouts is threatening to block her from getting to 218 votes on the floor in January, leaving Democrats uncertain about their leadership. “I’m concerned about the situation,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), as he left a closed door meeting of House Democrats at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday afternoon. “I can’t say that I’m optimistic,” Connolly told reporters, noting that those opposed to Pelosi as the next Speaker did not seem to be backing down. “I’m always true to my word,” said Rep.-Elect Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who made clear repeatedly during his campaign for Congress that he would not vote for Pelosi as Speaker. “Sometimes it’s good to have a fresh new face, and to have change and go forward with some new ideas, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that,” Van Drew told reporters. . @edokeefe: 'If the election were held today on the House floor do you have the votes to be elected Speaker?' @NancyPelosi: 'Yes.' pic.twitter.com/PUqW5bpgUr — CSPAN (@cspan) November 15, 2018 Meanwhile, Pelosi’s office continued on Thursday to churn out public endorsements from both established Democrats and those who have just been elected. “I truly believe that Rep. Pelosi has demonstrated the proven, tested leadership we need to confront the issues before our nation,” said Rep. John Lewis (D-GA). “We cannot afford to come up short.” As for recently elected lawmakers, two new Democrats from California said they would stick with their home state colleague, arguing Pelosi would deliver ‘leadership that is bold, pragmatic, and capable of swift results.’ “This is why we support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker,” wrote Katie Hill and Mike Levin, who won seats in southern California. But the math to 218 votes seemed somewhat fraught for Pelosi, as if Democrats end up with around 235-240 votes in the House, a relatively small slice of the party could block Pelosi’s ascension, much as the Freedom Caucus threatened to do for several years in the House with the GOP. Senior House Democratic lawmaker on if Pelosi can’t get the votes to become Speaker: “It’s who blinks first. Is it Nancy or is it the caucus?” Another sr Hse Dem on the leadership fight: “It’s going to get ugly” — Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) November 15, 2018 “We had the biggest victory since 1974,” Pelosi said. “All of us are committed to a better future for America’s working families.” Whether that story line includes Pelosi as Speaker again – that won’t be determined until the week after Thanksgiving.
  • Pasco County deputies and members of the community are working together to bring awareness to people who fail to stop for a stopped school bus. On Wednesday, Monica Douglas recorded a video of a caravan of drivers blowing past a stopped school bus unloaded children on U.S. 19 in Pasco County.  According to WFLA-TV, deputies ticketed 13 people during their multi-day operation at that location. The U.S. has recently seen numerous incidents involving children being hit by cars while waiting for the bus.  In Tampa, a car hit five children and two adults waiting for a bus.  Two of those children suffered serious injuries. Here’s Douglas’ video of the Pasco County operation in action: (Video)
  • Investigators with the FBI are probing the death of an American woman on a Princess Cruises ship bound for Aruba, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news The 52-year-old woman, whose name was not released, died early Tuesday while aboard the Royal Princess, The Associated Press reported. Princess Cruises officials told WPLG in a statement that Aruban authorities boarded the ship, which can carry 3,600 passengers, when it arrived in the country. “We are cooperating fully with the investigating authorities, including the FBI,” the statement said. “An official cause of death has not been announced.” Citing local media reports, CBS News reported that Aruban authorities are investigating the case as a possible homicide. The Royal Princess left Florida’s Port Everglades on Nov. 9 for a 7-day Southern Caribbean cruise. It will return on Saturday to Fort Lauderdale. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • In what has almost been a daily event since Election Day last week, Democrats won another GOP seat in the House on Thursday, as a new form of runoff election in Maine knocked off a Republican incumbent, increasing the gains of Democrats to 35 seats, with seven GOP seats still undecided. In Maine, Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) had asked a federal judge to block the final tabulation of results in his district under the format known as “ranked choice voting” – but the judge refused, saying that was a political question, as Maine voters had approved the new runoff format twice in statewide elections. Poliquin is the 26th House GOP incumbent to be defeated in last week’s elections; Democrats lead in three of the seven remaining undecided House races, while Repulbicans are ahead in the other four – as Democrats could win three or four more seats. “Now we’re getting up to forty,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “That’s really a very big – almost a tsunami,” arguing that Democrats had to overcome Republican gerrymanders to notch their victories. At her press conference, Nancy Pelosi notes this year's freshman Dem class is the biggest since 1974 'Watergate babies.' “I don’t know if this Congress will name itself, but we’re almost close to 60 new Democrats,” she says. — Ella Nilsen (@ella_nilsen) November 15, 2018 Regardless of what term you use to describe the gains by Democrats in the House, it will be the party’s biggest pickup since 1974, a class that was dubbed, “the Watergate babies,” when Democrats gained 49 seats. Overall, there will most likely be over 90 new members of the House, getting close to the total change in the Tea Party midterm election of 2010, when 94 new members arrived on Capitol Hill. While Pelosi expressed excitement about the growing number of new Democrats in the Congress, she flashed a bit of impatience with reporters on Thursday, as they pestered her again with questions about whether she would have the votes to once again be Speaker of the House. “I intend to win the Speakership,” said Pelosi, who served as Speaker for four years between 2007 and 2011. “I have overwhelming support in my caucus to be Speaker of the House,” Pelosi added, even as other Democrats were trying to come up with another candidate to oppose her. PELOSI latest: 1. Rep Jayapal isnt saying where she is – told us she, Rep. Pocan are meeting w Pelosi later. 2. Rep. Richmond (CBC chair) said he is not anti-Pelosi but if Fudge runs he will likely support. Also said he spoke w Fudge today and she did not bring up Speaker run. — Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) November 15, 2018 Pressed by reporters at a news conference, Pelosi said she would welcome a challenge by Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), or anyone else. “I say it to everybody, come on in, the water’s warm,” Pelosi said. While Republicans held their leadership elections this week – House Democrats won’t vote until after Thanksgiving.