WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A Guatemalan mother and son are living in Winston-Salem after seeking asylum.
Aura told FOX8 through an interpreter that she had no other choice but to pick up her life and come to the United States. She says her son, Allan, was asked to join a local gang and he denied so their safety was at risk.
"They were obligating my son and other children to get into the gangs and he did not want to join," Aura said. "If he did not get in there, they were killing off the students and the one that did get in were getting arrested and sent to prison."
So in order to escape the violence and threats, she spent thousands of dollars to get to the U.S. with the help of smugglers.
Once they arrived in the U.S. the two were separated for three days at the border. An organization called Siembre, a nonprofit AFSC/Siembre NC which helps Latino immigrants, assisted with getting the pair to Winston-Salem.
"I was sad and uncomfortable, and just really sad," Allan said.
Moving to an unfamiliar country with no other family or support has been difficult for them. Aura has been ordered to wear an ankle monitor so government authorities are aware of her location.
"I had to leave a country that I wasn't missing anything because my son was going to be killed because he did not want to get into the gangs. Look at the human side of it and see that we just needed help so that we can be safe," Aura said.
Allan enjoys playing soccer and wants to finish his education in the U.S. and learn English. Aura says she wants to be able to get a job so she can provide a better life. They are trying to raise $3,000 to get an apartment and pay for an attorney.