For asylum seekers, Manhattan is only part of a harrowing journey

For asylum seekers, Manhattan is only part of a harrowing journey

In addition they have free rein within the kitchen and purchase groceries with money Thielmann offers. Gonzalez mentioned he enjoys making arepas and pasta, and on a current night Thielmann mentioned they supplied her what appeared to be a scrumptious pork loin preparation, which she needed to decline as a result of she was too drained from having awoken at 4:30 a.m. that day to greet new asylum seekers on the Port Authority.

Thielmann additionally cooks for her friends, as Gonzalez’s nephew and his girlfriend have been ending a breakfast of scrambled eggs ready by their host when a reporter appeared on the residence.

For Gonzalez, the state of affairs is not one thing he takes as a right.

“I had to walk for almost two months through heavy rain, sleeping in the street, eating in the street,” he mentioned, recounting his journey from Venezuela to the U.S. border.

“I feel like a king,” he mentioned. And for this, he provides because of Thielmann and to God.

However there are different helpers.

A go to from a fellow asylum seeker

Sooner or later after arriving, the three obtained a go to from one other immigrant. Rafael Suarez, 25, had come to the U.S. in 2019 from Honduras, and, just like the newcomers, he had additionally been hosted by Thielmann. Again then, he was recovering from his time on the Port Isabel Detention Middle in Texas, the place he spent three months.

“Those were the worst days of my life,” he mentioned by way of textual content message.

His luck modified after arriving in New York and receiving a room within the Thielmann residence. His first job was washing dishes in a restaurant, he mentioned, and in 2020 he obtained his work allow and social safety quantity. In the meantime, he pursued a declare of asylum.

His software was based mostly on the menace he confronted in Honduras as a homosexual man, a downside that has been extensively documented. One Honduran human rights group famous earlier this yr that 405 LGBTQ Hondurans have been killed since 2009, and a report by Human Rights Watch famous that many LGBTQ asylum seekers arriving on the southern border “reported serious abuses in their countries of origin, including rape, assault, death threats, extortion, and forced disappearances or killings of romantic partners and friends.”

In opposition to that violent backdrop, Suarez’s asylum declare was permitted on Dec. 21, 2021. He remembers the precise time when his life was altered: 11:39 a.m.

“The judge told me: ‘Sir, you have been granted asylum.’”

That second, he mentioned, was transformative, permitting him to change into gainfully employed whereas sending a reimbursement to his mom. Right now, he works at a manufacturing unit in Astoria, baking cookies for a baker whose retailers are in Manhattan. The oatmeal raisin cookies, he mentioned, are his favourite.

Extra importantly, he’s capable of inhabit his id with out worry of persecution.

“What really changed my life is being in this city so FREE and being able to be the way I am,” he wrote, utilizing all caps to emphasise the phrase LIBRE in Spanish.

His recommendation for these newcomers was easy.

“I told them, welcome to this beautiful country and that they have to rest one day and the next day look for a job in order to get ahead.”

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