Centro Romero founder reflects on immigrant experience as migrant caravan heads north

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As thousands of people continue walking toward the southern United States border from Central America, some Chicago immigrants are reminded of their journeys.

For many, the significance of being welcomed is also not far from mind as the U.S. government decides how to handle incoming migrants.

Jose Manuel Ventura made a treacherous, two-month trek from El Salvador decades ago.

Now an American citizen and a founder Centro Romero, Ventura has been watching the caravan of Central American migrants walking to the United States in hopes of applying for asylum. Many are fleeing crime and poverty in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Ventura said that many of the migrants are parents who fear for their children's safety or they are impoverished caught in the crossfire of gang violence.

"Every citizen benefits when we stop foreign countries from cheating our workers," President Donald Trump said at a recent rally. "That's what they've been doing, you know? They're called globalists. They like, they like the globe. I like the globe too. I like the globe too but we have to take care of our people. We have to."

President Trump said he will consider sending resources to the Southwest border to keep the migrants from entering the United States.

Ventura, whose work at Centro Romero assists immigrants, said he hopes those seeking asylum will have their day in an American court.

"They deserve a chance," Ventura said.
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