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The Incredible Story of an American Nurse & Honduran Asylum Seeker



There are many touching stories throughout America on a daily basis that simply are not considered “newsworthy enough” to make headlines.  They are stories which show our strength as a people, and bonds that can form between individuals of different races, cultures and religions, if we are willing to open our arms and our hearts to someone who may speak a different language than us or have darker skin than our neighbors.

KrassenCast is a new podcast by the co-founders of Hill Reporter, Ed Krassenstein (myself), Brian Krassenstein and James Kosur, and it focuses on sharing some of these amazing stories of perseverance, love, and humanity.  In the latest episode of Krassencast, entitled ‘Asylum Camp Nightmares That Trump Won’t Tell You,’ we interviewed a registered nurse from San Diego, who went down to Tijuana, Mexico and formed a tremendous bond with a female asylum seeker named Yaritza.  The entire interview and podcast is now available on Patreon, iTunes, Soundcloud, Youtube, and other podcast services, and it can be heard below.

Gretchen Gordon is a registered nurse in San Diego, California.  She is one of many volunteers who cross the border to Tijuana on a frequent basis in order to work with women and children who are seeking asylum in the United States.

“I was one person of several that walked across the border from San Diego to Tijuana,” Gretchen Gordon told KrassenCast.  “I went to a shelter — one of the shelters had been set up to provide legal assistance and some medical care for the people who have come to Tijuana, waiting for their turn to seek asylum.”

During one recent visit to these asylum camps, about four weeks ago, Gordon met a woman who had been through a tremendous amount of trauma.  Her name was Yaritza, and she had left Honduras after her husband was murdered by a gang or cartel. During her long journey north to Tijuana, she had been kidnapped by a group of men who almost killed her.

“She had been kidnapped in Mexico,”  Gorden told KrassenCast. “She had been held in a house and had men put a gun to her head and tell her that they were going to kill her.  She had somehow managed to escape from that home and someone helped her find her way to the shelter. “

Upon getting to the shelter, Gordon met up with her.  She was ill and needed some basic medical care.

“Since my Spanish is not conversational, we just held each other,” Gordon told us.  “She was in a state of a lot of trauma.  She was trembling and very tearful, so I just really wanted to provide support. I just held onto her and she held onto me until we could find a more permanent shelter for her.  I left Tijuana that day and I was just thinking about her so much.  And I knew that she was really afraid that the [her kidnappers] would try and find her and hurt her again.”

Before Gordon left Tijuana to head back home to San Diego, Yaritza gave her a Mother of Guadalupe medal that she had brought with her on her journey from Honduras. Gordon reciprocated the favor by giving her the earrings that she had worn down to Mexico.  The two didn’t know if they would ever see each other again.

The medallion that Yaritza gave to Nurse Gretchen Gordon.

Then just a little over a week ago, Gordon made a return trip to Tijuana to again help out with the asylum seekers in need of medical care.

“I went down with a medical group and we went to three different shelters,” Gordon explained. “At the second shelter I went to that was especially for women and children, I turned around and [Yaritza] was there and I was so happy to see her, and so grateful that she was alive and that she was safe.  We just had this connection”

Gordon and Yaritza just embraced each other as tears streamed down their faces.

According to Gordon, Yaritza is still awaiting her asylum hearing.  She’s in the process of waiting for her ‘credible fear interview’.

“I hope people understand that [asylum seekers] are not something that anyone needs to be afraid of.  As Americans, we need to embrace [them] because it’s our humanity,” says Gordon. “The administration has put up many roadblocks for people to apply for asylum.  They are metering people so that people are in Tijuana for long periods of time.  So when they talk about a crisis at the border, this is really what the crisis is.  The crisis is created by the administration. The crisis is manufactured by the idea that they are going to limit the people who are going to apply for asylum.”

The entire interview with Gordon, where she touches on some of the other inconceivable things being done by the Trump Administration at immigration detention centers in San Diego, as well as more on this story, is now available on PatreoniTunes, Soundcloud, Youtube, and other podcast services.