Thirteen illegal immigrants from Honduras dreaming of a new life in New York earned $505 at odd jobs in Texas and crammed into a jalopy - even its trunk - but were stopped Friday because they couldn't afford a $3 Hudson River tunnel toll.
The 13 men had not eaten since they left San Antonio on Nov. 13, having spent $425 for a beat-up 1971 Chrysler and the remaining $80 of their $505 earnings for gas and tolls, said Port Authority Police Deputy Inspector Edward Forker.The would-be immigrants, all hailing from two Honduran villages along the war-torn border 10 miles from Nicaragua, were detained at the New Jersey entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, just miles shy of their destination - the homes of friends in New York City.
"We're giving them a pre-Thanskgiving meal upstairs right now," Forker said of the men, who range in age from 24 to 30. "They're eating a gallon apiece. They are just starved."
Immigration and Naturalization Service agents declined to arrest the workers, saying federal lockups already are overcrowded and that the men provided names and addresses of their hosts in New York, Forker said.