By Amanda Michelle Gomez, May 24, 2022
After a journey from Venezuela that included a 5-day trek through the jungle and a 33-hour bus ride from Texas, Caro and Alejo had finally found respite at a Northwest D.C. rowhouse, alongside a Shih Tzu Poodle mix named Pippa.
They’ve been at the home of a D.C organizer named Sarah for two weeks now. Despite being under house arrest while anxiously awaiting a home-visit from immigration caseworkers as part of an alternative to detention program, they exchanged sweet looks and made each other laugh on a recent Friday afternoon. This is what their journey was for: to finally be together without fear, after facing hostility for being in a queer relationship in Venezuela.
“I feel the freedom to love,” says Caro in Spanish. “Most importantly, I am very happy.”
Caro and Alejo, who both asked to be referenced by nicknames to protect their safety, are two of hundreds of migrants bused to D.C. by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over the last six weeks. The Republican ally of former president Donald Trump has framed the chartered buses as a pointed criticism of President Joe Biden’s border policy — his many detractors, meanwhile, say he’s orchestrating a cheap political stunt for electoral gain.