Emotional reunion of Honduran mom with her baby after a month-long separation at the border
After a month of anguish, a Honduran mother waiting anxiously at the San Francisco Airport managed to hold her daughter again on Tuesday, January 29.
The 17-month-old was separated from her father's arms when her family arrived at the Mexico-US border in seek of asylum on December. Her story reveals how complicated this process is for the families.
Sindy Flores waited nervously but when she saw Juliet arrive, the tears began to roll down her cheeks. When she took her in her arms, the little girl began to cry and her mother took her away from the dozens of microphones and cameras that surrounded her.
#BREAKING: Sindy Flores is reunited with her one-year-old daughter Juliet after spending a month desperately pleading with federal #immigration authorities for the return of her baby who was separated from her father at the U.S.-Mexico #border. @sfchronicle pic.twitter.com/XYerrLhX15— Santiago Mejia (@SantiagoMejia) January 30, 2019
23-year-old Sindy and her partner Kevin Ventura-Corrales left Honduras in late December 2018, with their little Gretchen Juliet. However, upon reaching the border crossing at Calexico, California, on December 28 the family was separated.
The father was left to take care of the girl but he was then arrested due to a previous deportation and his baby was placed in the custody of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office and transferred to a shelter for migrant children in Texas.
Juliet was sent to a Texas migrant children shelter in after officials took her from her father, whom they arrested Dec. 28 near Calexico. The father, Kevin Ventura-Corrales, is being detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Arizona. pic.twitter.com/uvB6MPjoEE— Santiago Mejia (@SantiagoMejia) January 30, 2019
The mother, who arrived with her two other children, aged 9 and 7, stayed in California while her asylum request was processed and during this time they stayed with relatives in San Francisco.
"I was devastated by not knowing, not knowing what to do... I felt powerless because my daughter was somewhere else and not with me," Flores said.
Under public pressure, officials reunite asylum seeker and toddler after weeks-long separation: Family separation at the border hasn’t ended. Sindy Flores, an asylum seeker who fled gang threats in Honduras,… https://t.co/HSnhProHVJ #ImpeachTrump #ImpeachKavanaugh #TheResistance pic.twitter.com/c3g2yu0QKx— Patrick (@cahulaan) January 30, 2019
The woman's lawyer said that she legally tried to recover the girl but that the federal government continued to increase requirements for the release of the baby - including a $4,000 payment for her to travel to San Francisco with a care provider.
Before reuniting with her little girl, the concerned mother told the San Francisco Chronicle that she thought the separation was going to harm the baby in a psychological way.
"[Juliet] is going to have to deal with the trauma of thinking that I abandoned her," she said.
Flores, of Honduras who is seeking asylum, had agonized about her baby’s well-being. “They’re damaging her psychologically,” Flores had said before learning she would be reunited. “She’s going to be dealing with the trauma of thinking we left her, that we abandoned her.” pic.twitter.com/WH4pjKSE5h— Santiago Mejia (@SantiagoMejia) January 30, 2019
It should be noted that the situation of this family comes six months after the Trump administration stopped the controversial practice of family separation at the border.
"As excited as we are to see Sindy reunite with her baby, it's just one story in this is the humanitarian crisis we need to pay attention to," said Immigration advocate Lisa Castellanos.
Nearly 15,000 migrant children are now held in government custody, putting shelters near capacity.— NPR (@NPR) December 13, 2018
Officials are considering a range of options from releasing the children more quickly to building more tent cities. https://t.co/79uy31Hv1u
The media indicated that activists who support the family of little Juliet fear that this case is an indication that the current administration still carries out the policy of zero tolerance at the border despite the fact that it ended months ago.