A Family Reunited

It was a tearful moment: after months of separation, a Congolese asylum seeker, Ms. L, was finally reunited with her 7-year-old daughter.

Ms. L and her daughter came to the U.S. hoping to find safety. Instead, they were separated by government officials and held in separate detention facilities 2,000 miles away from each other—Ms. L in San Diego, her daughter in Chicago.

Children’s Rights and 14 other respected nonprofit children’s organizations filed an Amicus Brief in support of the ACLU in its lawsuit against the Trump administration for separating the mother and daughter and keeping them apart.

“Tearing apart asylum seekers and their families is abhorrent and counter to child welfare practices, federal law and international laws and treaties,” said Sandy Santana, executive director of Children’s Rights. “It also stands in stark contrast to this Administration’s purported commitment to family values.”

Last weekend, Ms. L was released from the San Diego facility where she had been held and was allowed to reunite with her daughter in a shelter in Chicago.

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According to Lee Gelernt, Deputy Director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, “They were hugging each other and sobbing. It was just incredibly emotional.”

Ms. L expressed her relief: “It has been such a painful time. I am so grateful to be with my daughter again. I want to thank all the people who supported me and my daughter.”

The ACLU is now pursuing a class action on behalf of other asylum-seeking families being separated at the border. Children’s Rights will continue to support this important work.