Aggie Knows Pain of Illegal Immigration First Hand

By: David Norris Email
By: David Norris Email
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas At the age of 13, Jose Zelaya set out on a 1,600 mile trip from his home in Honduras to the U.S.

"I asked my grandma to help me run away, and she literally gave me to a smuggler in Guatemala," said Zelaya.

Zelaya was tired of the constant violence and poverty he faced every day.

"I was shot twice in both of my arms while I was playing soccer just like all the other kids," said Zelaya.

He traveled by foot, train, bus and whatever else he could find to get him to the U.S.

"And then I got to the Rio Grande River. And I swam across, thinking my mom was going to be on the other side, but unfortunately, she wasn't," said Zelaya.

Zelaya would eventually find his mother, along with a U.S. Education. He found solace in a bill signed into law by Governor Rick Perry, allowing undocumented students to study in Texas.

Now 27, Zelaya is working on his PhD at Texas A&M University. He said while he's thankful for everything he's been given and worked for, he doesn't think Perry is making the right decision by sending National Guard troops to the U.S., Mexico border to try and bolster security.

Zelaya said while it is important to know who's crossing the border, it's also important to take care of those people while they're here.

"So it makes me proud that my governor believes that I should go to college. But at the same time, whenever my governor is sending the National Guard to an area that needs humanitarian response. A humanitarian crisis does not need militarization. A humanitarian crisis needs a humanitarian response," said Zelaya.

Texas State Representative for District 12 Kyle Kacal agrees the border situation is a humanitarian crisis, and the National Guard can help to make sure people trying to cross over are safe, then help determine what's next.

"Obviously this is a federal issue that the state of Texas is tired of dealing with," said Kacal. "It takes people to figure out where every body's located, where they came from and what their purpose is. Whether they're fleeing a conflict or simply crossing the border from their hometown."

Kacal, along with state representative John Raney and other state representatives are headed to the U.S., Mexico border on Tuesday to tour the area with Department of Public Safety officials.

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