Immigrants And Refugees
Immigrants and Refugees

Profile: Fernando, Venezuelan Migrant

Fernando, at the Catholic Charities New York offices

Most of his fellow Venezuelan migrants to New York City over the past month are tight-lipped, holding stories of hardship both from home and on their perilous journey.

Fernando, 40, is an exception. He won’t give his last name, for fear of persecution from the government back in his home country, but he’s quite willing to chat with a reporter. A former teacher of mechanical engineering in his home country, he has come to New York determined to better his life.

He now resides in a Brooklyn shelter, but hopes to one day to establish himself in a city he learned about through pop culture but where he has no family. Here for two weeks, he looks up when a reporter points out landmarks such as the Chrysler Building. One day, he hopes to bring his family – a wife and four children – to share in a new life, far away from the political repression in his home country.

Meanwhile, he is being assisted by Catholic Charities, receiving counseling about his needs here and the court hearing that will determine his status for asylum.