Teen escapes Honduran gangs, now legal resident

Edwuard Salgado planning for his future in U.S.

SAN ANTONIO – Had it not been for a security guard at his school in Honduras who intervened, Edwuard Salgado may not have lived to tell his story. Barely in his teens when it happened, Salgado survived a beating by members of a violent Honduran gang known for threatening young people to join them or die.

“They were waiting outside the school, waiting for the students,” Salgado said.

Frustrated he’d refused to work for them, Salgado said, “They beat me up. All of them got a hold of me, hitting me.”

Salgado was lucky.  He said a girl had been killed. Her body was dumped outside the school, perhaps as a message to others at the school.

Salgado said when he got home, his mother was scared for his safety. He said when she decided they had to leave, he was excited at first until he realized what he would be leaving behind.

“My grandmother. My life is here, my friends, my family,” Salgado said.

Salgado said they didn’t want to leave but were forced to go or face the consequences. He and his mother were luckier than most Central American families who’ve turned themselves in after reaching the Texas border.

Salgado said instead of risking their lives walking across Mexico, they paid a smuggler $7,000. They traveled in vehicles and buses until finally crossing the Rio Grande in a raft three years ago.

Although he was relieved to have arrived in the U.S., Salgado said at first, they were lost because it was quickly getting dark. But he said they finally saw lights in the distance, an international bridge where they turned themselves over to Border Patrol agents.

Once in San Antonio, an immigration attorney helped him gain his legal permanent residency. However, his mother is still awaiting her asylum hearing. Now instead of fearing for his life in Honduras, Salgado is planning his future in America.

Salgado, a senior at Southwest High School, said his favorite subjects are math and science, but he’s still trying to improve his English.

“Got to learn, just learning, learning, learning,” he said.

Salgado said the translation app on his cellphone helps him communicate with his girlfriend who speaks only English.

Since he couldn’t have his phone during the STAAR test, Salgado said he had to use a dictionary.

He said he hopes to major in mechanical engineering, but his ultimate goal is “doing business, making money.” That’s his American dream.   

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