McALLEN, Texas—In interviews last weekend, some illegal immigrants said they plan on working when they settle in the interior of the United States. Others said they want to study here first so they can support their families.

migrant from Honduras told The Daily Caller News Foundation that he worked dishwashing and other restaurant jobs in Guatemala before crossing through Mexico and eventually entering the U.S. unlawfully near La Joya, Texas. He and another Honduran man said last Saturday night that they plan to study so they can better support themselves and their families once they’re settled in the U.S.

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“You need to suffer for it. You need to sweat for it,” a man from Ecuador said shortly after illegally entering the U.S. near Hidalgo Point of Entry in southern Texas late Saturday night. “You need to start from zero to show that the situation costs.” 

A Honduran, Javier, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that he plans to “work now with the help of God and give the best to my baby and wife.” He said he worked carpentry jobs in Guatemala and Mexico to fund his trip north to the U.S.

“I know how to do everything,” a woman from El Salvador said, adding that she expects to have more opportunities now that she’s in the U.S., wanting to seek asylum through the legal process while working to support herself.

More than 10 million illegal immigrants live and work in the U.S., and most have lived in the country for an average of 16 years without legal status, according to the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington.

An estimated 5 million illegal immigrants were classified as essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, employed at medical facilities, child and elderly care services, and education services.

The Biden administration proposes to provide legal status to around 11 million illegal immigrants, according to the White House.

Border officials encountered nearly 190,000 migrants at the southern border in June, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection data. About 60,000 of the total number encountered in June were caught in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.

Juan Mendoza contributed to this report.

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