In the News

By: The Associated Press

Angelica Rebeca Gonzalez-Garcia, who is living in Framingham, was reunited with her 8-year-old daughter at Logan International Airport in Boston Thursday. The pair were separated in May after crossing the U.S. border in Arizona. Gonzalez-Garcia told the Daily News she is seeking asylum in the U.S. to escape the violence in Guatemala.

BOSTON — 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. Gonzales-Garcia has been living with friends in Framingham since the U.S. Immigation and Customs Enforcement allowed her case for asylum to go forward.

“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 on Twitter.

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.

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.”

In an interview with the Daily News on Saturday, Gonzales-Garcia said she and her daughter entered the U.S. on May 9. They were placed in a detention center together with 40 other women, she said through Diego Low, who interpreted her comments from Spanish to English.

Gonzales-Garcia’s daughter, then 7, was taken from her two days later on Mother’s Day. She said she had no idea where her daughter was taken only that she was somewhere in Texas. At the time of her interview with the Daily News, she had spoken by phone with her daughter five times since they were separated.

“I came here to save my life, and my daughter’s life from aggression and violence (in Guatemala), she said through Low, who is the director of Casa del Trabajador in Framingham, an organization that supports immigrant workers.

On Saturday she said she feared the Trump Administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy would lead to her deportation back to Guatemala without her daughter.

------

Original story here.