In a nondescript room at Boston’s Logan Airport, Angélica González-García dropped to her knees when she saw her 8-year-old daughter. As the young girl fell into her mom’s arms, Angélica’s sobs are the only thing you can hear. The 31-year-old mom hadn’t seen her daughter for 55 days. After the two arrived from Guatemala to the US-Mexico border seeking asylum, an immigration agent took her child. He even wished her a “Happy Mother’s Day” before upending their lives. On Thursday, after an agonizing couple of months – in which González-García missed her daughter’s eighth birthday – they were finally brought together. The emotional moment was caught on camera, and while the reunion was a sigh of relief for Angélica, it’s a reminder that many families remain separated.
For months, the Trump Administration – in an attempt to deter more people (mostly Central Americans) from reaching the border – callously ripped children from their parents at the border. After infuriating people across the country, President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending the policy, but there are many obstacles to reunification and the administration has provided very few answers. The Department of Health and Human Services told reporters on Thursday that it doesn’t know how many of the children under its care were taken from their parents, according to Vox.
For Angélica, it’s been a difficult few months. It started back in Texas, when she and her daughter were held in a room with 30 to 40 other families. A few days later, immigration officials told her she’d “never see” her child again, according to a lawsuit she filed against the government recently. She was sent to a detention center in Colorado, and then she was released on bond on June 19 after she filed an asylum application. She first spoke to her daughter on the phone, and learned she was afraid after another child at the facility hurt her. Many have come together to offer financial support to the family as Angélica hopes to obtain a work permit.
“There was a time I thought I would never see her again,” she told CNN. “But I got on my knees every day and prayed. She says that she also prayed every day that we would be together again. … The wait was like an eternity.”
Angélica had the help of lawyers from two firms and the ACLU of Massachusetts. Rep. Katherine Clark also helped make the process quicker. When mother and daughter were finally face to face, Angélica apologized to her daughter. “Forgive me for leaving you all alone,” she said. “Forgive me my daughter. Forgive me… You know that I love you, right? You know that I missed you. You are the gift that God gave me. I’ll never leave you alone again. Never. Forgive me my darling for leaving you alone. Forgive me. I didn’t want to.”