‘No good Rochester’: Migrant family struggles with unfulfilled promises in new home

Migrant family has struggled since arriving in Rochester

Migrant family has struggled since arriving in Rochester

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Yaniry Pena broke down in tears as she shared her story with News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean. Pena and her children fled domestic violence in the Dominican Republic, taking a month and a half to travel from El Salvador to Mexico before crossing into the United States in Texas.

“It’s very traumatic,” said Mercedes Vasquez-Simmons, translating for Pena. “She says it’s been quite traumatic. Everything that has been told to us to come to Monroe County, to Rochester hasn’t been fulfilled.”

After arriving in the U.S., Pena and her family were moved to New York City and enrolled in a housing program that sent them to Rochester. They arrived in January and lived at the Holiday Inn Downtown for four months before moving into a duplex three weeks ago.

However, the duplex they moved into didn’t have gas or power. Despite being in the country for more than a year, Pena still doesn’t have a work permit and worries about running out of money to support her children.

Berkeley Brean: “Do you like America?”
Yaniry Pena: “Si. But not Rochester.”
Brean: “But not Rochester.”
Pena: “No. No good Rochester.”
Brean: “Do you want to stay in America?”
Pena: “Yeah.”

When Pena moved into the duplex, she found the refrigerator filled with either tiny worms or feces. After complaining, the fridge was replaced.

In January, Ibero, the agency that oversees the care of migrant families, said 36 families, about 145 people, had moved from the downtown hotel to apartments. News10NBC is still working to confirm the exact number of migrants who have relocated to Rochester.

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