For more than six months, an 11-year-old boy from Honduras remained in government custody, despite his mother, Karen Yadira Rodríguez, being a legal asylum seeker. At the time he crossed the border into the United States with his grandmother, the US government had separated children from their parents or guardians under the Trump Administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy, meant to deter the mostly Central American immigrants from entering the country. Months later, not all children and parents have been reunited. On Saturday, Rodríguez finally got to hold her young son in her arms. The emotional moment has gone viral, once again reminding people of the long-lasting effects of the Trump policy.
A very emotional scene inside Dulles airport this morning when an 11 y/o, held by ICE for 6+ months, reunited with his mother & grandmother. He claimed asylum at the border and was detained, yet the mom was already living legally in VA. She sued the Trump administration & won. pic.twitter.com/rJaH7Eqh3q
— Patrick Torphy (@PatrickTorphy) September 22, 2018
At the Washington Dulles International Airport, the young boy hugs both his mother and grandmother. Similar to other reunification videos, it is heart-wrenching and infuriating. The boy and his grandmother had claimed asylum at the border, and days after the government detained them, it also separated the two. As CBS News’ Broadcast Associate Patrick Torphy points out, Karen complied with the government and provided all the necessary information. However, when that went nowhere, Nexus Services stepped in and provided legal aid.
Yet, Nexus Services is known for its “abusive and fraudulent tactics.” A May Univision story explained that a New York prosecutor was looking into claims that the company “misleads vulnerable immigrants.”
Libre by Nexus pays the bonds of undocumented immigrants. In exchange, the undocumented immigrants must wear a GPS tracker, and they can’t remove it until they pay 80 percent of their bond or their case reaches its conclusion.
El Salvador-born Cindi Santana, for example, turned to the company. Nexus told her that she’d have to pay $420 per month, but she didn’t realize what she was signing up for. “I was happy because I was out, I was not detained anymore,” she told Univision. “But I didn’t know that I was getting out just to get myself into an even bigger mess… I thoughtL: wow! $420 per month and I’m out. I’ll work hard and I’ll be debt free in no time. What I didn’t know was that those $420 were just to cover the fee of the monitoring device.”
She signed a contract, which was written in English, and she couldn’t understand. Although someone explained the contract to her, she says she was never told how much she’d have to pay. The company then reportedly used unethical tactics to make sure immigrants paid the monthly cost.
“If we tried to cut or take of the bracelet,” Santana said, “they could immediately contact ICE and have us sent back to detention.”