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A mother and son hold hands during a news conference following their reunion on June 22, 2018, in Linthicum, Md.
Patrick Semansky/AP
Citizenship

This Immigrant Mother Is Still Waiting to See Her 3 Children


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Many of the immigrants arriving at the US-Mexico border are fleeing rampant violence and extreme poverty, and they are seeking asylum in the hopes of finding safety and opportunity. You can join us by taking action to support the reunification of families here.

“I’m going to look for my children,” said Yeni Gonzalez, a mother of three from Guatemala whose children were taken from her at the US-Mexico border. “It has been very difficult, very hard for me. I felt that my heart broke into a thousand pieces. They snatched my children from my arms.”

Before reaching the US, Gonzalez had no prior knowledge of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy on immigration. If she had, she said she never would have brought her family to the US.

Take Action: Call On Your Representatives to #ReuniteFamiliesNow and Stop the Migrant Crisis with Targeted Foreign Aid

Along with about 2,000 other families, Gonzalez was separated from her three children when she crossed the border because of the policy. While she was detained in Eloy, Arizona, her three children were brought to a detention facility in New York, nearly 1,800 miles away.

Gonzalez told her story in a new video published Sunday by Voice of America (VOA). The news organization is "following her quest to overcome legal barriers and get her kids back from distant detention centers."

While President Donald Trump signed an executive order to reunite families, it’s almost impossible to locate the children of parents because they were reclassified as “unaccompanied alien children.” 

When Gonzalez asked a US Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) officer if she could call her children, she was told, “Do you know something? You will be deported back to Guatemala and your children will remain in the hands of this government.”

Read More: The Long Painful Path to Reuniting Families

Under Trump’s new policy to reunite families, parents can only be brought together again with their children if they are no longer in a detention center, meaning they will need to make bail or wait out their legal proceedings. Although a family in New York City raised $7,500 to pay Gonzalez’s bail, she has not yet been reunited with her children.

But she remains hopeful that she will see them again soon.