Right here in Michiana, one of the thousands of displaced immigrant children is now calling Elkhart home. His journey has not been an easy one, and his story is what brought community leaders to Congresswoman Jackie Walorski's office, pleading for her to help and take action. With help from ABC 57 producer Stephanie Sanyour, we're sharing one Elkhart family's story.
"Hay muchas cosas malas"
"Ahi matan gente a la par de mi casa"
"Me daba miedo"
(Translaton: There are very many bad things. They killed people, just by my house. I was very afraid)
Those are words no child should ever have to say. It's why Dennis risked his life last year, to leave these living conditions in Honduras when he was just 8 years old. He crossed into the States only to end up in a US detention center, as one of thousands of displaced immigrant children. Government officials sent him to Elkhart to be with family here in the States. It's where he met his grandma and dad for the first time, who escaped the same violence more than a decade ago.
"Allá a uno lo matan hasta por cien pesos, la delincuencia está mala, y la policia no hace nada."
(Translation: Over there they kill you for just ten dollars. Crimes are horrible, and the cops don't do anything)
Now Petronila is helping her grandson overcome what he witnessed.
"Dice que el miraba cuando estaban asaltando gente, que iba a ver los muertos cuando amanecia, eso era a diario."
(Translation: He would tell me that he could see when robbers were attacking people, that he could see dead bodies in the morning, and that was everyday)
And now Homeland Security officials are trying to figure out what to do with the almost 60,000 children who fled just like dennis.
"The United Nations declared it a humanitarian crisis, for the reason that it is one."
It's what brought Joe Carbone and other community leaders to Congresswoman Jackie Walorski's office Monday morning. Pastor Nelson Craybil, urged her to take a global persective.
"We can't simply say, this is a foreign problem, these are Central American problems and ship these people back. We have to think a little bit more globally and recognize that we have been a part of this problem, and we can be part of the solution."
And for Dennis-- the solution is as simple as acceptance.
"Que me dieran papeles como a mis hermanos."
(Translation: That they give me papers, like my siblings)
Congresswoman Walorski says she can't make a firm decision on immigration, until the reform bill HR-15 is in her hands. Walorski did make a commitment, to speak to community leaders once again before any legislation is passed.