Three weeks ago, a picture of and her children running away from tear gas at the border showed the world the cruelty of the US’ immigration system. As a group of Central American immigrants protested near the border – some reportedly trying to enter through a gap and having thrown rocks at the US side – US Customs and Border Protection fired tear gas at hundreds. María Meza, a Honduran mom, frantically grabbed her diaper-clad 5-year-old twin daughters as they escaped the gas. Now, nearly a month after a highly circulated image of Meza and her daughters struck a chord with many, a California congressman and immigration lawyers have said that the family has been allowed to enter the US to try to seek asylum.
Meza and her children, along with a group of immigrants, waited at the Otay Mesa port of entry in San Diego on Monday. “It all happened quickly, but I can report her kids were delighted to learn they were finally going to be processed and not be waiting outside in the cold,” immigration lawyer Christina Brown told NBC News.
Congressman Jimmy Gomez revealed that Meza and her children waited to gain entry for seven hours. CBP said that the Otay Mesa facility was full, and lawmakers and immigration lawyers demanded to see the center in person – a request that was denied.