Beatriz fled Venezuela with her son in 2019 when the violence and persecution they faced became unbearable. She came from a family labeled as “the opposition” by the dictatorial Venezuelan government, making Beatriz and her loved ones a constant target.
Though she and her family had received many threats because of their political advocacy, the breaking point came when government officials physically assaulted her and her son in her store. In the face of courage, Beatriz made the incredibly difficult decision to leave behind the only life and culture that she knew.
Beatriz chose not to travel through the Darien Gap, a dangerous pathway between Colombia and Panama of 66 miles of jungle that migrants take to try to reach the U.S./Mexico border. This form of travel has led to countless deaths and family separations due to dehydration, starvation, illness, violence from organized crime, injury, and hazardous weather. Beatriz never considered this option; she does not understand how anyone could risk their precious life.
When arriving at Nogales, she was surprised to discover the Migrant Protection Protocols being enforced at the time. MPP was announced by the Trump Administration in 2018 and installed in early 2019, calling for migrants seeking asylum to be returned to Mexico to wait for a court hearing. Because of this, Beatriz spent two long years of her migration journey waiting in Nogales, Sonora.
Beatriz and her son encountered incredibly kind and generous people in Nogales, including her son’s boss at La Taqueria Lupita and the Kino Border Initiative. “Glory to god that I found Kino,” Beatriz said. In the face of deep sorrow and hardship, Beatriz found the strength to pursue her dream through the unwavering support and deep faith demonstrated by others.
Beatriz recounts the material, emotional, and medical support she received at KBI. She even got to continue her passion for political advocacy through marches. “The topic of migration needs people to pay attention to it, and there need to be organizations like KBI so there can be more people with humanitarian values.”
After two whole years of patiently waiting, Beatriz and her son were finally granted passage into the U.S. in 2021. After a grueling process of getting work permits, giving interviews, filling out paperwork, and communicating with her lawyers from Michigan, they finally got a court date scheduled.
“I told my lawyer that this was life or death for me. I could not go back to my country,” Beatriz said.
On April 10, 2023, the judge read their file. Within 15 minutes, he told Beatriz’s lawyer that they “could spend the four hours she requested litigating, but his decision would remain the same. This asylum case was approved.”
Beatriz immediately burst into tears of joy. The judge gave her a “thumbs up,” as if affirming to her he made the right choice. Even with this being a difficult and complex process, her persistence, patience, bravery, and faithful spirit had paid off.
As someone who always believed in liberty, Beatriz is eternally grateful to the United States for giving her the opportunity to “advance and grow.” She wants to remind migrants that even impossible dreams can still come true.
“I arrived full of illusions, fears, but most of all, hope that justice would occur when one leaves their country. Thanks to you guys [KBI], to your policies, to the help from Sister Tracy and Marla and many other people there, today I can give glory to God that my asylum was approved and that there is hope and a light at the end of the journey.”