McALLEN, Texas – Hundreds of undocumented immigrants come through the doors of the Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, Texas, every day.
Many have been traveling for days, weeks and even months. They are met with open arms by Norma Pimentel, the director of Catholic Charities.
"It's been a blessing from God that we are here," Fermina Lopez said in Spanish.
Lopez and her 11-year-old son fled El Salvador. They said they traveled through jungles to escape death and the grasp of organized crime.
"Even at his young age, they want him to join their gangs. I don't want that for my son," Lopez said.
Many of the undocumented immigrants said they are paying close attention to President-elect Donald Trump and his proposed deportation policies.
On his website, Trump has detailed a 10-point plans that includes ending sanctuary cities, building a wall along the southern border and “turn(ing) off the jobs and benefits magnet.”
"Very much so. I hope, just hope to God that he doesn't send us back to the other side,” Lopez said. “We suffered to get here and we come to work to help our families in El Salvador.”
No one is quite sure how much of a role politics actually plays in a person's decision to leave her country. Some believe it may be part of a smuggler's strategy to instill fear and make money.
While they have crossed illegally, all the families at the shelter have permission to stay and travel freely.
"They're given permission to continue their deportation procedure somewhere else. They've been processed and they've been vetted and they know they are no threat to the United States and that’s why they're allowed to travel," Pimentel said.
Lopez is on her way to Pennsylvania, where she will stay with family. She said the idea of a new and safer life is worth the journey and the wait.