BOSTON (AP) — A Guatemalan woman seeking asylum was reunited with her 8-year-old daughter Thursday, nearly two months after they were forcibly separated when they crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts tweeted that the daughter, who was identified only as S.K., arrived at Boston’s Logan Airport Thursday afternoon, where she was greeted by her mother, Angelica Rebeca Gonzalez-Garcia, and a crowd of supporters.
“Forgive me, my child, forgive me,” Gonzalez-Garcia can be heard sobbing to her daughter in Spanish as the two embraced in a short video posted in Twitter.
— ACLU Massachusetts (@ACLU_Mass) July 5, 2018
The ACLU and two Boston-area law firms filed an emergency lawsuit in federal court demanding the immediate reunification of the family last week. The suit was among dozens filed across the country after Republican President Donald Trump ended his administration’s controversial practice of separating migrant children from their parents.
Gonzalez-Garcia said at the time the lawsuit was filed that the two had been apprehended crossing the border in Arizona in May and were later sent to separate facilities. Gonzalez-Garcia was eventually released in Colorado and settled in Massachusetts, but her daughter remained in a Texas shelter.
The girl was returned to her mother after her legal team, with the help of U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, a Massachusetts Democrat, pushed to expedite the process of designating Gonzalez-Garcia as the girl’s legal sponsor, said Matthew Segal, legal director for the ACLU of Massachusetts.
Their separation should have never happened. I will keep fighting every day until every parent can once again hold their child in their arms. #FamiliesBelongTogther
— Katherine Clark (@RepKClark) July 5, 2018
Immigration officials had deemed the girl an “unaccompanied minor” and required Gonzalez-Garcia to go through fingerprinting and other screening measures that her legal team argued would take weeks if not months.
“The big obstacle has been that the government was treating them as strangers and making them go through procedures that were not at all appropriate” in this situation, Segal said. “There was never any dispute that she was this girl’s mother and that this was her daughter.”