NEW YORK (WABC) --After three attempts to cross the border, a 4-year-old boy is finally reunited with his mother.
Driven from his home in Mexico, a little boy desperate for a better life made the difficult journey to get into Texas.
This week alone he traveled from McAllen, Texas, to Bridgeport, Conn. -- the end of a very long trip.
The boy's uncle traveled with him from Oaxaca to Reynosa, Mexico. From there, a coyote, or willful human smuggler, promised to take the 4-year-old to McAllen by car. But when his mother didn't hear from him, she feared Derrick didn't survive the treacherous trip.
It's the first time in more two years that Veronica Martinez has hugged Derrick. "I can't describe this. It's a lot of emotion because I know my son has suffered a lot," she said.
Border control had caught Derrick and the coyote, and sent the boy to a detention center. But his mother didn't know where he was for several weeks.
As dangerous as the journey was, his mother said she had no choice. "People don't understand the situation, but my child was in danger in Mexico. The eighth of May was the last time they tried to kidnap him because of a problem his father had," Martinez said.
This is the third time Derrick has been illegally brought across border. He was deported the first two times, but allowed to stay this time.
While there's so much to celebrate, there's still a lot of worry about whether they'll be allowed to stay.
A family lawyer is applying for a new immigration status, claiming political asylum because Derrick's life was at risk in Mexico.