By Maricarmen Cajahauringa, NHPR
Jose Ponte is a 54-year-old from Peru who lived in Venezuela for the last three decades. He gained Venezuelan citizenship and had a family there, but said political and economic upheaval made him want to move to the United States.
Unable to afford a U.S. visa, he said he risked his life three times attempting to cross the Darién Gap, which connects South and Central America, to come to the U.S.
Finally, he was allowed entry into the country.
"On that journey, everyone is on their own. It's like watching a traumatic movie because you see decomposing dead people,” Ponte said. "Through my journey, my shoes broke. I had to pick up a shoe that I saw thrown away."
Ponte’s story is similar to thousands of people who’ve recently immigrated to the U.S. This summer has been marked by an increase of immigration. Especially in neighboring New York City and Massachusetts, where shelters were at times unable to manage the influx of people.