A Guatemalan mother who sued the government after being separated from her son when they crossed the U.S. border seeking asylum has been reunited with her child.
More than a month after they were detained and separated at the border amid the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown, Beata Mariana de Jesus Mejia-Mejia was reunited with her 7-year-old early Friday. She wrapped her son in his blanket that she had continuously carried during their time apart, hugged him and told him she loved him.
“Look at his face — he’s sad, but we’re going to be together, and no one’s going to separate us again,” an emotional Mejia-Mejia told reporters at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
Mejia-Mejia, 38, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government challenging the family separation policy. At a court hearing on Thursday, government lawyers said her son would be released from custody in Arizona and flown to meet his mother in Washington, D.C. The move came the day after President Donald Trump signed an executive order discontinuing the family separation policy through a massive expansion of detention of kids and parents.
The boy, Darwin, is one of more than 2,300 children who were taken from their parents by the government as part of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy that separated parents from their children while the parents were prosecuted.
Although the family separation policy has ended, it remains unclear how the government will reunify the families. A government official told The Associated Press that about 500 of the children separated from their families at the border have been reunited since May. The official also said the government is developing a centralized reunification process for the rest of the separated families at a center in Texas.
Mejia-Mejia left Guatemala because she faced death threats and was physically abused by her husband, according to her lawsuit. However, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced earlier this month that the administration would restrict asylum access for domestic violence victims in an effort to reduce unauthorized immigrants from entering the country, so it’s unclear if Mejia-Mejia and her son will be allowed to remain in the U.S.