It’s a mother’s instinct to shield her child from any dangers. Recently a mother fled from her home city in Guatemala due to extreme violence with her children only to find herself separated from what she held closest.
Maria found herself in a detention center in Texas, ripped apart from her three children aged 13, 2 and 6. They were held 1,800 miles away from their mother in a New York detention center lost and alone. The oldest son aged 20 was also separated and put in a different detention center in California whilst the father sought refuge in a church in Mexico.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials say Maria made a false claim of US citizenship in 1999 and served a 75-day sentence in a federal prison before being deported back to Guatemala at that time. This falsifying of fact “results in a permanent bar from being able to legally enter the United States.” This turn of events leaves the family’s situation not only unclear but uncertain.
The father commented: “My soul is broken. We made a huge sacrifice to come here asking for protection and instead of help, they are torturing us,”
Ignacio Villatoro said, “It’s a living hell without my children. My children suffered during the journey. And now they suffer over there (in the US). They don’t have liberty.”
The escape from Guatemala
The family tried to escape on the train, known as the beast, which transports undocumented migrants across the border. The Villatoro family knew the risks, but staying in their native Guatemala felt like “a death sentence,” according to the father, after they were directly threatened by gangs.
After a month of hiding and traveling they reached the border, and attempted to claim asylum only to be torn apart in four ways.
While initially the case looked promising and it appeared as if the authorities believed the situation that Maria was explaining, the events that pursued were completely different. They were torn apart and sent to different camps. Her lawyer described the ordeal. “(Maria) told me about watching her son, a young teen, walk away with her 2-year-old and her 6-year-old, one in his arm and the other holding his hand,” she was not told why the separation was occurring.
In an initial statement ICE said “(Maria) was arrested by immigration authorities in California after she illegally entered the United States,”
Her lawyer disagrees with this saying “ There have been no charges against her — this separation is something that came out of the blue, three weeks after being in detention with her three children. It’s something unexplainable and we believe completely unlawful.”
Call a Salt Lake City Family immigration lawyer today
These border separations are getting harder and harder to listen to each day. Immigration is a touchy topic and to legally come to the United States can be difficult. Even while here you may face deportation. To schedule an initial consultation with a family immigration lawyer in Salt Lake City call our offices at 801-656-9605.
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