LATINO VOICES
11/18/2014 04:21 pm ET Updated Nov 18, 2014

Migrant Defends Mother's Decision To Send Him Unaccompanied Into U.S.

No mother wants to put her child in a dangerous situation, but José Luis Zelaya says his mom had no choice.

Zelaya, 27, is from San Pedro Sula. With a homicide rate of 169 per 100,000 inhabitants last year, the Honduran city is the most dangerous one in the world, according to the Mexican think tank Citizen Council for Justice, Security and Peace.

By the time Zelaya was 13 years old, he had already had his head stomped on and been shot twice. Under such dangerous conditions, Zelaya's mother sent him unaccompanied into the United States.

"Whenever a human being, like my mother, is faced with a decision of [life or death], I think that my mom is going to choose life," Zelaya told HuffPost Live's Nancy Redd. "The situations at home only promoted a feeling of death."

While Zelaya endured serious physical and emotional pain on his journey into the United States, the mere hope of a better life helped him suffer through the trip.

"I think this journey is seen as a journey of hope," he said. "It’s seen as a journey of life. It’s seen as a journey of better opportunities, and I think that’s what my mother was thinking whenever she made the journey."

Zelaya also defended other mothers who put their children in such dangerous and compromising situations.

"It’s either their mother sacrifices their children for the opportunity of a better hope or she witnesses them die on their own land," he said.

Watch the video above to hear more about Zelaya's story and click here to watch the full segment on the trauma of migration for young people here.

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