ESCONDIDO, Calif. - For the first time, 10News is hearing some of the local stories behind the recent influx of Central American migrants, including several children.
Eight months ago, 14-year-old Allan Avilar was reunited with his mother in Escondido after a border crossing she told him not to make.
"I am … I am feel very happy he stay with me now," said Yeny Avilar.
A relieved Avilar showed 10News a photo – the last one she took with her then-3-year-old son Allan – just before she trekked from Honduras and illegally crossed into the United States in 2003.
She says she was a single mother who could not feed her child and left Allan with relatives.
"In my country, it is difficult to find a job," said Avilar. She says their town – Arizona, Honduras – is infested with gangs, drugs and violence.
After a relative was killed, she says her son grew anxious.
"When children start growing around my age the gangs want them to transport drugs from one place to another," Allan said in Spanish. "I didn't want to do that and it's easy to get caught in the violence and be killed. That's why I wanted to join my mother."
Avilar says she told her son not to cross because it was too dangerous, but in September he and a relative in his 20s took a bus and then crossed by desert into Texas.
Allan was separated from his relative near the border before being taken into custody.
After one month in custody, he was released to his mother. A deportation order has been stayed, pending his petition for asylum.
His case is one of many that is sparking frustration over resources sapped.
A protest unfolded Sunday in Murrieta where 140 undocumented immigrants, including many children, will be processed after being flown into San Diego on Tuesday.
"We have to respond in a way that protects the safety and the welfare of the children who are making this dangerous journey into our country," said Pedro Rios, who is with the American Friends Service Committee.
Avilar said, "I understand they are upset because nobody likes strangers come to your house, you know, but the people come. It's for better opportunity and life."