Lolinda Amaya sobbed when she saw a viral photo of a Guatemalan mother imploring Mexico's National Guard to let her cross into the U.S. The woman in that photo is Amaya's niece, Ledy Perez, who had borrowed money and fled her village, seeking a better life for her only child... She was stopped just a few feet from the U.S. border by an armed Mexican soldier...The encounter caught on-camera by Reuters.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) LEDY PEREZ, GUATEMALAN MIGRANT SAYING: "Let me go to the US/Mexico border.
I beg you, please don't let me be taken back." When the officer glanced away, the mother and son dashed across the U.S. border.
There, the two were taken into official custody.
Her aunt Amaya said that she and Perez's grandmother had seen the images and video of the pair published last week by Reuters when they went viral.
They were relieved that Perez and her son made it.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) AUNT OF GUATEMALAN MIGRANT SEEN IN VIRAL IMAGES, LOLINDA AMAYA, SAYING: And, every time I saw the video it broke my soul and I kept praying for her.
I prayed to God first that she would arrive, and thank God she arrived." Perez was living in the same municipality as Amaya before she left -- a sparsely populated area called La Libertad..in the northernmost district of Guatemala known for its Mayan ruins and drug cartel violence.
Some residents work in the cornfields or cattle farms, but jobs are scarce.
Amaya said that running a small shop or selling food like tamales and empanadas are the only options for locals like her niece who had received little formal schooling.
Reuters learned last week that Perez and her son were released from U.S. custody and that Perez's mother - who previously also fled to the U.S. - picked her up from a North Carolina airport.
Perez may now have the option of seeking asylum.
But the process no longer guarantees migrants the right to stay in the country while their legal cases are processed.
Under the policy known as the "Migrant Protection Protocols", many people are returned to northern Mexican cities while their claims are processed.
But as Perez's grandmother told Reuters- despite the challenges, Perez knew that going to the U.S. was a risk worth taking.