Juan Carlos, a 36 year-old Salvadoran baker, fled a middle-class life with his wife and three children after a gang beat him and threatened to kill his family when he failed to pay $50 in monthly kickbacks.
Now stranded in Tijuana with slim chances of being granted asylum to enter the U.S. legally, Juan Carlos is desperate for signs of hope. “We only want the president to touch his heart and say, ‘I’ll give you a chance,’” he says. But the Trump administration policy now is more like “‘Give me five coffins. I’m sending this family to be buried there.’ It’s not fair,” Juan Carlos said.
“Whereas migrants fled civil wars in the 1980s, they now flee gangs,” said Daniel Reichman of University of Rochester. Tyrone Beason, Corinne Chin, and Erika Schultz reported on Juan Carlos and other asylum seekers stranded in Tijuana in a Pulitzer Center-supported multimedia project for The Seattle Times.