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Massachusetts Boy’s Immigration Journey Resonates In Border Crisis Debate

By Beth Germano, WBZ-TV Correspondent
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Emmy award-winning Beth Germano is a general assignment reporter fo...
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BOSTON (CBS) – His story is one that resonates in the debate over whether Massachusetts should host hundreds of children illegally crossing the United States border.

The White House has asked for help in an immigration crisis, and the federal government will look at whether Camp Edwards in Bourne and Westover Air Base in Chicopee would be appropriate facilities.

Eleven-year old Isaac fled El Salvador in the spring out of a fear of gang violence that had already brought death threats to his family. His father disappeared when Isaac was a baby, and his mother fled as well ending up in Massachusetts where Isaac was reunited with her in May for the first time in nine years.

At the age of 11, he is old enough to be recruited into gang violence according to immigration attorney Johanna Herrero.

“If you don’t become part of these gangs they will kill your family members one by one as they have threatened to do to Isaac’s family,” Herrero said.

Instead Issac fled with a man he says he trusted on a harrowing journey by bus and on foot that took several days to get to the border, finally ending up in a Houston detention center.

“He didn’t know where he was,” said Herrero. “He saw a lot of kids, some of them would return and some would stay. He was scared he would never meet his mom.”

It’s a journey not unlike the one that could bring children fleeing similar violence to Massachusetts.

“This humanitarian emergency requires as a first urgent measure that these children be welcomed and protected,” said Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who joined Gov. Deval Patrick at a press conference to announce the decision.

Isaac knows well the fear of the risk these children have taken.

“I think they will be scared to be deported,” Issac said.

Issac is fortunate to not be alone now, but still faces removal proceedings to determine whether he’ll be able to remain in the United States. If Massachusetts is chosen the Governor, says the children will stay for four months, but he faces some skeptical lawmakers who worry it will be a more open invitation.

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