Sending photo with Santa, immigrant father waiting in El Paso tells son in Venezuela his Christmas gift may be delayed


When Santa arrived at an immigrant shelter in El Paso, Texas, to deliver gifts to children, one immigrant asked only to be photographed with him.

The photos, taken by Geovanny Caripaz, 39, were quickly sent via WhatsApp to his 7-year-old son in Venezuela.

“I told him that Santa was in the United States, so his gifts might be delayed in reaching Venezuela,” Karipas said.

According to his father, who left Venezuela three months ago, his son Carlos Santiago Caripaz desperately wanted a bicycle for Christmas.

The child responded in a voice memo saying he told his father he liked the photo and asked if it was real Santa who was with him.

The crashed Karipas told CNN the bike will arrive after he gets a job in the US.

“I told him it would come on Three Kings Day or sometime in January,” he said.

Caripaz plans to travel to Dallas, where he has family and friends. But for now, he has been sleeping on the street near the Sacre Coeur immigrant shelter, which is currently at capacity.

Many people like Caripaz are struggling to find shelter as temperatures in El Paso turn frigid due to the winter storm sweeping the U.S. and amid a recent surge in immigration.

The city declared a state of emergency over the weekend as thousands of migrants are living in unsafe conditions as Trump-era border policies that keep immigrants out remain unresolved in court proceedings.

According to city officials, many immigrants entering El Paso do not intend to stay, but local infrastructure is working to support the influx and outflow.

The Sacred Heart shelter said it prioritized women and children during the cold front and was open to all immigrants, regardless of their immigration status. Hundreds of people continued to wait outside the church.

Sleeping in 20-degree temperatures is difficult, many immigrants told CNN, but being away from family during Christmas is especially difficult.

“I’m doing it for my kids,” Karipaz said. “I’m here to work, I have faith…[My son] Wanted his bike and I told him Santa couldn’t bring it yet but he would in January. ”

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