Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services

Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services

Unaccompanied child seeking asylum turned high school graduate
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Rildo is a young man whose story is an example of the life-changing possibilities when asylum seekers are given an opportunity. Rildo is originally from Honduras. In his home country, Rildo was recruited by criminal gangs who were known for carrying out kidnappings, engaging in illegal drug sales, and other illegal criminal activity. Rildo refused to be a part of the gang. Soon after, Rildo and his mother started receiving death threats from the gang members. As the threats became more violent, Alex and his mother feared the gang members would follow through on their threats to kill them, so they left their home, their family, and their entire lives in Honduras for a chance at survival.
The mother and son duo arrived at the U.S. Mexico border in Cd. Juarez, bordering El Paso, Texas seeking asylum. Their arrival came at the height of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program, commonly known as “Remain in Mexico.” The program required migrants seeking asylum to stay in Mexico while they waited for their day in immigration court. Alex’s mother was placed in MPP and forced to wait in Juarez. Alex, however, entered the United States without his mother as an unaccompanied minor. He was eventually placed in a long-term foster care shelter and enrolled in a local high school in El Paso.
When Alex turned 18 years old, he was no longer able to live in the foster care shelter. Caseworkers at the shelter helped him move into an apartment where the teenager lives alone. DMRS attorney, Natasha Reyes, represented Alex in his claim for asylum. In November 2021, Natasha secured a work permit for Alex that allowed him to legally get a job to support himself. Alex’s mother was not allowed to enter the U.S. As a high school student, Alex was in a strange country with no family and no friends. Despite the challenges, Alex remained committed to making the best of his life in the U.S. Rildo was not only granted asylum, but in May 2023, Rildo he also graduated high school in El Paso!
“There were times where I could have given up. I don’t know where I would be if it weren’t for my friends, my family, and Natasha. The truth is, without her, I wouldn’t be here,” said Rildo on his graduation day.
Rildo has set a new goal of obtaining a degree in electrical engineering and hopes to open his own business one day.
Regular monthly donations to DMRS make achievements like Rildo’s possible. Those contributions make it possible for DMRS to offer free legal services to migrants and asylum seekers who arrive at our border, often with no family and no friends, DMRS is there to welcome them and to make sure they understand their rights in this country. We show up for them in shelters, detention centers, and the courtroom. All of this is possible because of YOU. Thank you for choosing to change lives.

Unaccompanied child seeking asylum turned high school graduate

My name is Rildo Aguilar
I am 20 years old.
Currently, I am graduating
from El Paso High School.
My process
was quite
difficult, and there were
where I could have given up.
I don’t know where I would be
if it weren’t
for my friends, my family,
and Natasha.
Because truth is, without her
I wouldn’t be here.
Where do I see myself?
I see myself
being successful,
as an entrepreneur.
I want to get my degree in
Electrical Engineering.

Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services
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