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Colombian migrant family flees home, hopes for new life in America

“We're going to take Denver in our hearts with us and we feel very, very grateful"
Posted at 9:49 AM, Nov 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-07 13:35:23-05

DENVER — On Friday, around 50 migrants arrived in Denver after many fled their homes seeking asylum. A young Colombian family explained the moments that led up to the painful decision to leave everyone they love behind and start a new life.

Denver7 was invited inside the shelter where some families were still staying as of Saturday evening. Children were playing soccer and laughing, as parents rested on cots. Many families had already left the shelter.

READ MORE: Bus of around 50 migrants arrive in Denver from El Paso center

Alejandro and Alejandra are a young married couple who came to the United States with their 8-year-old son. The family plans on flying to New Jersey on Sunday morning, where they hope to find their new home.

“He's sort of seeing it like an adventure, so he's been he's been happy and excited to know more about another country," said Alejandra through a translator. “He doesn't really understand the reality of why we're leaving there. He's innocent of all the things that are happening, you know, he's just a child.”

While living in Colombia, Alejandro said he worked within his community to combat drug addiction and gang violence.

“One day, because I was out in the community, I witnessed the assassination of someone. And already the leader of that zone didn't like me, because I was out trying to help kids not get into the gangs and not become a part of the drug addiction," Alejandro explained. “Once I witnessed them killing someone, I became really afraid. And a few days later, because they didn't like me already, and because I saw this assassination happen, they sent a representative to my house. And they said that if we didn't leave in 36 hours, they would kill us.”

Alejandro said the threat forced his family to leave Colombia. They had 36 hours to quit their jobs and gather as much money as possible before they fled. Through tears, Alejandro said they left behind both of their families.

“Everything we've ever known is there. We were born there. We built our home together. They're all our friends and our family. Our culture. It's all there," Alejandra said. “It's difficult to describe how hard it is and the pain you feel leaving your country behind.”

The two fear the uncertainty of this new life, but simultaneously hope for a better quality of life, especially for their son.

“We're taking Colorado in our heart. We didn't expect or hope for this kind of welcome. We didn't expect people to be so nice and that filled us with happiness. We feel like we've found siblings here and we don't feel alone," Alejandra said. “Don't be afraid of us. We're here to be a part of things, not to take anything away from anyone.”

The family said they plan on paying forward the support they have been shown, knowing other families will face similar situations in the future.

Denver7 was told six families plan to settle in Colorado because they have no other family in the country.