Migrant mom detained by ICE fears being separated from her son

Immigration

Migrant mom detained by ICE fears being separated from her son

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This interview was translated from Spanish, and lightly edited for length and clarity.CBS News: How are you feeling right now?Claudia: Well, sad because of the situation that we are going through. I feel like they should understand that it is a long time, that children don’t deserve to be going through this. I think that’s a bit illogical. One of these days he was sick, vomiting and nauseous. Wash your hands. I feel he is becoming traumatized because of that fear he has that they could separate us.Do you think that these 11 months in which you have been detained with your son have been detrimental to your son’s development and emotional well-being?For his emotional well-being, yes. That would not be logical. Nobody. But you would continue to be in detention and they could deport you. Your son asks you why you’re detained?Yes, he asks me why we are imprisoned if we haven’t done anything wrong.How do you respond?I tell him that we can’t do much about it. government, what would it be?To understand the situation we are going through, that we are also human beings and run a risk from being imprisoned here for so long. We have to fend for ourselves. If I were to get sick, who would take care of my son? He just stays quiet and puts his head down.As you know, right now we are in the middle of a pandemic. I know it is not that easy outside, but if we were to get sick, our families would be able to take care of us, to help us. It’s not fair for them to continue playing with their feelings or ours. One of them would be staying in detention with your children, meaning staying with your son in detention until your case is done. I know we have a right to food and clothes here, but it is not the same as having liberty. One judge says the parents can’t be released. It is time for them to let us leave, because we did not come to hurt anyone, but rather to fight and push forward for our children.The U.S. Yes, it is really concerning because here, many of the employees are being infected with that virus. It is not safe and that’s why we have endured so much time here, because the most important thing for me is the safety of my child.If you could send a message to the U.S. They are used to being with us. The other option is to let your son leave, so another family member can receive him. He does not want to be here any longer. But there is also another judge who authorized the release of the children and said the children don’t have to be detained. Under such a scheme, parents like Claudia would face what a federal judge in Washington, D.C., who ruled against their release called “a heart-rending choice.”CBS News interviewed Claudia, who fled El Salvador and is currently seeking asylum with the help of the non-profit Proyecto Dilley, on Wednesday over two 10-minute phone calls from inside the ICE family detention facility in Dilley, Texas, where she has been held with her son for nearly 11 months. It is a process that we have to go through. It’s something they are not considering. What’s your response? He asks why they have us locked up if he has done nothing wrong. They keep extending the dates, and they’re not letting us out. I imagine you have been made aware of some of what is going on with the number of cases, the infections and unfortunately, the deaths. We can’t lie to them and tell them that they will let us out on this day, if it does not happen. I took him to the infirmary. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody are expected to face this kind of “binary choice” soon.Late last month, citing growing coronavirus cases at the family detention facilities overseen by ICE, a federal judge in California ordered the release of all children who have been held with their parents for more than 20 days. He no longer answers like before, when he would talk to anyone when asked something. But it did not happen. It is a constant fear for us.In my case, I would have to have all the information. They don’t deserve to be suffering and to be thinking that they could be separated from their mothers. They don’t give us information about anything.Do you think it is fair for you all to only have these two options?I think that it is not, that it is not fair to be wanting to separate our children from us. Judge Dolly Gee ordered the release of minors because of the protections afforded to them under a 1997 consent decree known as the Flores Settlement Agreement. First published on July 24, 2020 / 6:00 AM He can’t even talk on the phone with his dad or his family because, upon hearing them, he cries. Is that something you also worry about, the coronavirus cases at the detention facility and on the outside? They told me he did not have anything [wrong with him] because he has gained three pounds in the past three months. [ICE] last week started calling our family members asking them if they were still going to be responsible for my son and me and that they should be on the lookout for another call. And now, one mom in the detention center, a new arrival, has been infected as well. And nothing assures me that I would be able to see my son again and if he will be safe where they would place him. They are not giving us the information that they should be giving us because it is a decision that we have the right of being well informed of. It is our children who we would be sending to sponsors. Hundreds of parents and children in U.S. No, I never imagined that we would spend so much time here, with my boy. It’s something that terrifies me a lot. government custody indefinitely during a global pandemic. They can require that we be separated from our children. If we have endured so much time here, it is because we want to do things legally, it is because we want to leave with the government’s authorization. My son does not want to eat. At night, he cries, has nightmares about being separated from me. In my case, I would not run the risk of not attending my court hearings, knowing that there’s a possibility I can give my son a better legal status, to be able to stay here legally. I think that going back there is not safe, since the person that was following us could take reprisals against us for leaving the country and not doing what he demanded. Why do you think that could happen? Because it is one of the options the government has. If I leave here, I will be responsible for attending the court dates they give me.Finally, the possibility of being separated from your son is something real for you, from what you told me. Here, we have to constantly tell them, ‘son, put your mask on. In her own words, she explains below how she’s approaching her current predicament. We’ve been detained here for so long. It’s something that you think about and that your son has mentioned. So, it is not fair for them to give us only those two options, since they can let us leave with our children. But these protections do not extend to their adult parents. U.S. He has grown very unwell, he is always crying, saying he does not want to be here. We don’t want to be running from immigration officials here. He tells me he feels sad because he does not have any friends here and that he misses his friends who already left. When someone speaks to him now, he just stands idle. They haven’t called back. There are not sufficient measures here so they can easily prevent that.Right now, there is an ongoing case in a federal court about migrant families, like you and your son, who are detained. for this time? And it is looking like the government and immigration officials will give you and other parents two options. And even if I had the information, I think it is a decision that I would not take. That’s why I took the decision to come. It is a collaboration that has splintered immigrant advocates.ICE now has until Monday to comply with Gee’s order, and is expected to do so by establishing what Justice Department lawyers labeled “a family separation process” this week. Don’t touch that.’ Nobody assures us that they’re going to be safe out there without us, that someone else is going to take care of them better than we do. Claudia, who asked that her name be changed, is not alone. And we don’t have information, because they don’t even call us to explain how the process would work. 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Gee gave ICE the option of releasing parents and children together — an authority the agency has — but the Trump administration has stated it does not intend to do so. I never imagined that the laws here would make it so difficult to seek asylum or that we would be locked up for such a long time without any possibility of being released.For you, what would it mean to be deported to El Salvador?I came fleeing with my son out of fear that we could be harmed, both him and I. Migrant mom faces impossible choice: let her son be released without her or stay in ICE detention together

By Camilo Montoya-Galvez

July 24, 2020 / 6:00 AM
/ CBS News

Families in ICE custody face difficult choice

Families in ICE custody face difficult choice… Here, nobody can. Instead, the government has been working with lawyers representing migrant minors in the Flores case to create a process by which parents can either waive their children’s right to be released or allow them to be released alone to sponsors, like family members in the U.S. government says that releasing all families would essentially be saying that it’s OK to cross the border without documents and that if they let the families out, they might not show up to court hearings. Do you think you could make a decision based on these options?The truth is, no, because they also have the option of letting us leave with our children. It’s not something I think about, to be separated from my son, but I would like to have all the information and to be able to consult with a lawyer about what to do. Now, he doesn’t. But I also don’t want my kid to remain here locked up running the risk of being infected by the virus. It is not a decision that we can take because they are children, they are little, they can’t fend for themselves. I can’t tell him that we are going to be released or give him a date because they have been giving us dates for our release for a long time, and it never happens. 08:30

In the coming days, Claudia could face an impossible choice: allow her 8-year-old son to be released without her from a Texas detention facility, or remain together in U.S. The boy found out about that, that they called his dad, which would be the place where we would go, and he was very happy. When we all decided to leave our homes with our children, it was because we did not want to leave them, we did not want to be separated from them. But God willing, one day we will be able to leave. Judge orders ICE to release migrant children

06:14

Did you ever imagine when you were leaving El Salvador, that you would be detained in the U.S. I would not lose that opportunity, I would not flee or hide.