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A household separated by borders recovers from a tragedy in a shelter in QueensDocumented

The 15-year-old boy left the shelter Tuesday with a black rubbish bag stuffed with rubbish from the condo he had shared together with his mom. He had taken his personal life simply two days earlier.

However he had returned to the area that they had lived in collectively, decided to scrub the condo and hold it tidy, simply as his mom had, though she was gone.

{The teenager}, Kevin, had gone to a close-by park on Sunday afternoon. His mom, Leidy Paola Martínez Villalobos, had stayed in her condo on the Hollis Household Residence in Queens, the place that they had been residing after they arrived in New York Metropolis from Colombia within the spring. That Sunday was presupposed to be a fun-filled day for Kevin and his seven-year-old sister Anny; that they had deliberate to go to the seashore at Coney Island and discover the boardwalk with their household pals.

However as an alternative, when Kevin returned from the park that Sunday, he discovered his mom useless.

“He felt determined, he did not know what to do. He advised me that his mom had died,” mentioned John Alexander Bernal Camacho, father of Kevin and husband of Martínez Villalobos. “I used to be in shock, I could not consider it.”

Now, Kevin and his sister are left with no mom whereas they continue to be separated from their father, who’s again in his neighborhood of Diana Turbay in Bogotá, the capital of Colombia.

Though the Metropolis Council has not made public the identification of Martínez Villalobos, 32 years outdated; Documentado is publishing his identify with the permission of his husband, who has already been notified of his dying. The placement of the shelter the place her household was staying was first reported by NBC 4 New York.

Greater than 11,600 migrants have handed by the town’s shelter since Might. As buses proceed to reach on the Port Authority of New York from Texas, an estimated 8,500 migrants are at present in shelters as officers scramble to search out housing for these arriving. However the challenges for a lot of of those migrants persist far past discovering shelter. their heads.

Martínez Villalobos and her two youngsters, who traveled from Colombia to New York, have been nonetheless residing in a shelter virtually 5 months after their arrival in america. Interviews with different residents on the facility, household pals and her husband element a grim actuality for a migrant household whose aspirations to realize the American dream got here crashing down inside the partitions of a New York Metropolis shelter.

Arrive in New York

The household of 4 took a aircraft from Colombia to Mexico Metropolis in April, and from there they headed by bus to Mexicali, in northern Mexico, mentioned Bernal Camacho, husband of Martínez Villalobos. They then spent a couple of arduous days crossing the desert into Arizona, he mentioned. However as soon as they have been detained by immigration officers in late April, Bernal Camacho was separated from his household and detained, he mentioned.

Bernal Camacho, Martinez Villalobos, Anny and Kevin. Photograph courtesy of John Alexander Bernal Camacho.

“That was the final time I noticed her,” Bernal Camacho, 32, mentioned of his spouse.

He by no means made it to New York to affix his spouse and youngsters. He tried twice extra to enter america, with out success. His final try and enter the nation occurred simply 9 days in the past, he mentioned.

In the meantime, Martínez Villalobos and the 2 youngsters she shared together with her husband headed to the town and settled within the shelter in Queens. That they had heard that there was extra help and higher training in america than in Colombia.

Martínez Villalobos was somebody who liked studying, who cared deeply about her youngsters and was seeking to proceed her research and profession in her nation as a dental assistant, her husband mentioned.

The couple had been collectively for 17 years and 6 of them had been married. They grew up as childhood pals of their native Diana Turbay neighborhood in Bogotá and started constructing their lives collectively as youngsters. Bernal Camacho valued the happiest moments he had together with his spouse: the day they have been lastly married within the Church and the delivery of their two youngsters. He hoped to create extra pleased recollections collectively within the US.

“The dream we had was to go to New York to have an excellent future and a greater life for our youngsters,” he mentioned. “We have been in search of a greater future and as an alternative this tragedy occurred.”

Hassle on the shelter

Even from afar, Bernal Camacho might hear his spouse’s ache. With every cellphone name, he sensed that she was turning into extra lonely and withdrawn. Because the weeks handed, it appeared that Martínez Villalobos was starting to really feel depressed. And in conversations together with her husband, he detailed the myriad of obstacles he confronted in her new metropolis.

Additionally learn: Division of Homeless Providers Officer Suspended After Punching Migrant at Shelter

Martínez Villalobos was having great issue discovering work, so placing meals on the desk turned a battle. Some days, the household was compelled to ration their meals consumption, Bernal Camacho mentioned. On the shelter, Martínez Villalobos had little web connection and typically she would seek for Wi-Fi at bus stops to name her husband, which made the space between them really feel even larger.

Metropolis employees threatened to take her youngsters from her if she left them unattended, even briefly, Bernal Camacho mentioned, so she hardly ever went out alone. As soon as a dental assistant in Colombia, her aim of advancing her personal profession in america pale as job prospects dimmed and he or she felt more and more trapped inside the confines of the shelter, her husband and a pal mentioned. Household’s pal.

“My spouse was not feeling effectively. The place she lived the one factor they supplied her was a roof, a roof,” she mentioned. “She was not supplied monetary assist, or meals, or work.”

Being aside exacerbated these tough instances, Bernal Camacho mentioned. “With the desperation and all the things, and the truth that I wasn’t there as a result of she wanted me,” he mentioned, “all of that pushed her to do what she did.”

Additionally learn: Migrants are battling New York Metropolis’s complicated shelter system

The Division of Social Providers and the Mayor’s Workplace declined to remark within the document on Bernal Camacho’s account of his spouse’s experiences with New York Metropolis sources and the shelter system. By legislation, the town can not touch upon the precise case presently, mentioned a press release from the mayor’s workplace, beforehand launched to the general public on Monday.

Arlès, the household pal, who’s a migrant from the identical neighborhood and arrived in New York about two months in the past, mentioned that Martínez Villalobos had additionally advised her that she was depressed and careworn. “I advised him to take it straightforward,” she mentioned. “Each time I advised her that as quickly as she might save she would lease a home to be all collectively, cook dinner collectively and that she might work whereas my spouse took care of the kids.”

Kevin and Anny are actually staying with Arlès, who didn’t wish to share his final identify for privateness causes, at a protected haven lodge in the meanwhile in Queens, he mentioned.

Whereas some mentioned they have been happy with the shelter, different residents interviewed additionally mentioned they discovered life there very tough, pointing to issues akin to an absence of language companies on the facility, mistreatment by employees, and strict schedule pointers. and what home equipment are essential. allowed of their rooms.

A Division of Social Providers spokesman mentioned defending the well being and security of shoppers is the company’s “prime precedence.”

“As a part of our authorized and ethical obligation to supply refuge to anybody in want, no matter their origin or immigration standing, we’re working across the clock to make sure that we offer refugee help to newly arrived asylum seekers,” mentioned the official. spokesman.

Additionally learn: As asylum seekers arrive in New York, many battle to get again on their toes

On Monday, Mayor Eric Adams launched a press release that an asylum seeker had taken her personal life at a shelter. “Our hearts break for this younger girl and any liked one she could have, and we as a metropolis mourn her,” Adams mentioned.

At an unrelated information convention Monday, Mayor Adams mentioned the fault lies with the practices of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has been ferrying immigrants from Texas to New York. However the incident doesn’t replicate a “failure” of New York Metropolis workers, he mentioned.

“One girl, I feel, was traumatized by this entire expertise. This isn’t a failure of these women and men, these metropolis workers who’ve stayed up late at night time, been on the bus station feeding, shopping. No, it’s not a failure. Metropolis workers will not be failures, they’re hard-working officers,” Adams advised reporters.

What comes subsequent, the household asks

Kevin has spent the previous few days since his mom’s dying worrying about the potential for being separated from his sister, his solely household in america.

However their father hopes that, for now, his youngsters can stick with Arlès till they’ll return to Colombia, Bernal Camacho mentioned. “The [Kevin] he is scared, he simply needs to be with me,” he mentioned. “And he or she would not wish to go away her sister.”

Bernal Camacho’s biggest needs are clear. He needs to satisfy together with his youngsters. And he pleads for her spouse’s physique to be returned to her homeland, in order that he can lay her to relaxation within the very place the place her childhood romance started.

For those who or somebody you realize wants entry to psychological well being help companies, name 888-NYC-WELL (888-692-9355) or textual content “WELL” to 65173. Plus, it’s also possible to chat on-line. Your data is all the time confidential. For help close to you, go to our information: Psychological Well being Sources for Immigrants in New York

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