August 6, 2018
A federal judge has ordered the Trump administration to do everything it can to reunify families separated at the border, but some children and parents remain trapped in different countries.
Ever since he was separated from his eight-year-old daughter almost three months ago, Miguel has been fighting to get her back. She calls him when she can—about once a week, though sometimes weeks pass when he hears nothing—from a shelter for unaccompanied minors in Miami, begging him to have her deported to their native Guatemala, where he was returned just days after they crossed the border into the US.
“She asks me, ‘Papa, how is my case going? I want to be back with you. I’m a child and I didn’t do anything,’ and she cries. I tell her she’ll be home soon, but I have no good answer,” Miguel told me on the phone, his voice trembling. “I’m desperate. Her mother is so upset she fainted. She’s said she’s going to commit suicide.” His daughter keeps asking why she is kept in “prison,” where she never knows if she’ll have the chance to communicate with her family.
Some parents, immigrant kids reunified in Miami, but feds ‘unlikely’ to meet deadline - Miami Herald
July 25, 2018
After visiting an immigrant shelter in Homestead last week — one of three in Miami-Dade County housing children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border — a South Florida lawmaker said Wednesday that he was skeptical that the Trump administration would meet a court-imposed deadline requiring the reunification of families split up at the border.
The administration has until Thursday to complete the reunification of the more than 2,000 immigrant children ages 5 to 17 who were separated from their parents as a result of the federal government’s short-lived “zero-tolerance” policy that ordered border agents to arrest as many illegal trespassers into the country as possible. The deadline was imposed by a federal judge in California.
“If they do meet the deadline, it will be a monumental feat given what we saw on Friday,” said state Sen. José Javier Rodriguez, a Miami Democrat who toured the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children last week. “The reunification was not going swiftly enough.”
So far, at least 67 children in South Florida have been reunited with their parents, said Jennifer Anzardo Valdes, director of the Children’s Legal Program at Americans for Immigrant Justice. The organization is the sole legal service provider authorized to work with minors in Florida’s immigration shelters, Anzardo Valdes said.
Para los abogados que representan a los niños inmigrantes, la tarea apenas comienza - El Nuevo Herald
25 de julio de 2018
La abogada Angeliki Bouliakis Andronis tiene en su oficina un enorme conejo de peluche de color azul claro. Con él tranquiliza a sus clientes más pequeños.
“Algunas veces les doy el peluche para que se sientan cómodos, para que tengan algo que agarrar, tocar y sentir”, explicó Bouliakis, quien representa a niños inmigrantes que están pidiendo asilo en Estados Unidos.
En meses recientes, Bouliakis se ha asombrado de que, con mayor frecuencia, muchos de los niños que vienen a su oficina son más pequeños que el peluche. Algunos se tiran al piso con el muñeco. Otros se caen al tratar de cargarlo.
July 25, 2018
Attorney Angeliki Bouliakis Andronis keeps a giant blue stuffed rabbit in her office — a token to help calm her smallest clients.
“Sometimes I give them the toy to make them feel more comfortable, to give them something to hold on to, touch and feel,” said Bouliakis, who represents immigrant children applying for U.S. asylum.
Bouliakis has noticed in recent months that an increasing number of her child clients are smaller than the stuffed rabbit. Some play with it on the floor. Others fall over when they try to carry it.
Those anecdotes reflect the new challenges faced by Bouliakis and her colleagues at Americans for Immigrant Justice (AIJ) after thousands of families were separated along the border with Mexico under President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy.
‘Scared to death’: Miami Haitians fear family separations if protected status expires - Miami Herald
July 24, 2018
Warning of the potential for a new family separation crisis within South Florida’s sprawling Haitian and Central American neighborhoods, immigrant advocates and Haitian-born recipients long shielded from deportation are calling for the Trump administration to extend their Temporary Protected Status prior to the 2019 deadline.
Parents who came to the U.S. following the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and their U.S.-born children — plus many Haitians who were already living in the U.S. — say they fear mass deportations and family separations if the federal government does not act quickly.
“I’m scared to death,” said 11-year-old Christina Ponthieux, whose parents are both recipients of the protected status. “This is our home."
"Me estaba desangrando": perdieron a sus bebés por presunta negligencia médica en centros de inmigración - Noticiero Univisión
July 23, 2018
Vea la entrevista aquí.
BY MARTIN VASSOLO
July 10, 2018
A pair of 4-year-old children separated from their fathers at the U.S.-Mexico border and taken to a South Florida migrant shelter were returned to their parents Tuesday, a law firm representing the families told the Miami Herald.
The kids, a boy and girl from Honduras and Guatemala, were the first immigrant children in Florida to be returned to their parents following President Donald Trump’s short-lived “zero tolerance” immigration policy, said Jennifer Anzardo Valdes, the director of the Children’s Legal Program at Americans for Immigrant Justice.
"The children were successfully reunited. Families are doing great and very happy to be together," Valdes told the Herald in an email Tuesday evening.
The small children are among the more than 50 immigrant kids around the country under the age of 5 that the Trump administration said it would reunite with their parents by a Tuesday deadline imposed by California U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw last month.
By Jalessa Castillo
Due to the threat of drug cartels, extreme poverty, gang violence, and other safety concerns, tens of thousands of parents and children have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally in recent years. Recently, former policies, the Trump administration, and other factors have led to a catastrophe that is the cause of over 2,300 children being separated from their parents.
It began in 2008 when Former-President George W. Bush signed a law calling for unaccompanied minors crossing the border to be released into the “least restrictive setting.”
By 2014, then-President Barack Obama faced an influx of children and families attempting to enter the U.S. His administration housed the families in special detention centers but since the arrangement violated an agreement that barred kids from jail-like settings, they were released pending notification of their next court date.
Following Trump’s election, now White House chief of staff, John Kelly, encouraged the separation of families as a way to discourage illegal border crossings.
Trump, along with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, also insisted that people were purposefully traveling with children to ensure they weren’t jailed.
What’s happening with detained migrant children? A patchwork system makes it hard to find out. - Tampa Bay Times
By Alex Leary and Steve Bousquet
June 29, 2018
Florida’s key role in the national detention system wasn’t publicly known until news broke in mid-June that more than 1,000 children were housed in a dorm-like former job training center in Homestead, including at least 70 kids who were taken from their families.
No one noticed.
Five months ago, the federal government sent an advisory to Gov. Rick Scott and Florida members of Congress: It was re-opening a shelter for "unaccompanied alien children" 35 miles south of Miami.
"There is no set date for UACs to arrive at the facility," a letter read, pledging "accountability and transparency for program operations."
The Homestead shelter, run by a private Florida contractor for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has become a flash point in an uproar over President Donald Trump's immigration policy. Hundreds of migrant children sent there went unnoticed until they were joined by dozens more torn from their parents at the border in recent weeks.
The outcry over child separation has revealed a disturbing bigger picture. America's immigration enforcement system is a complex patchwork involving multiple federal agencies, local sheriffs, nonprofits and, increasingly, politically influential corporations like Florida-based GEO Group.