Guatemalan Mother Reunites with Her Three Children in NYC


On Friday, Guatemalan mother Yeni González Garcia was given custody of her three children who were brought to Cayuga Centers, a social service organization in Harlem, after being separated at a border detention center in Arizona. They are among the nearly 12 children who have been reunited with their families in New York. Below are excerpts from a story by El Dario’s José Martínez.

“I owe a debt of gratitude to Governor Cuomo for bringing me back together with my children and ending this nightmare for my family,” said González. “My family and I came to the United States in search of hope and opportunity, and instead they took my children away at the border and sent them thousands of miles away.”

Cuomo celebrated the release of the three small children and said it was a victory for New York. “As the father of three daughters, I cannot imagine the anguish she has suffered as a result of Trump’s assault on immigrant families,” said the state leader. “Her courage and perseverance in the face of the federal government is an inspiration to us all.”

Although a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to return all minors under 5 years of age to their parents before July 10, dozens of them still have not been reunited with their relatives.

Mario Russell, director of the division of immigrant and refugee services of Catholic Charities, said that only 12 of the 24 under-5 minors being held in New York have been handed over to their parents. The rest, he said, are still waiting. According to a statement published by the Department of Homeland Security, the reason some of the children were not returned is that their parents have a criminal background or other issues, or have been deported.

Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Services (LSSNY) are two of the organizations which have taken on the task of seeing that the 350 minors sent to New York City are able to see their families again.

“This is essentially the mission of LSSNY: preserving and uniting families,” said Damyn Kelly, president and executive director of the organization. “We are working to guarantee that the children can reunite with their families quickly and safely.”

Vigil for sanctuary mother

Meanwhile, on Thursday Mamaroneck residents staged a vigil in support of Débora Barrios-Vásquez, the Guatemalan mother who took sanctuary in a New York church last month, Westchester Hispano reports. Mamaroneck is a sanctuary city and the vigil was attended by Mayor Tom Murphy, who expressed support for comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level.

 “In Mamaroneck, it was the Police Department itself that presented the proposal for the resolution of not collaborating with ICE, and then the Board of Trustees approved it. This allows us to live peacefully and in safety,” said Víctor Tafur, the only Hispanic trustee in Mamaroneck. (…)

The vigil was organized by the local organization Community Resource Center (CRC), which is asking for a judge to hear her case and give her an opportunity to defend herself.

 The CRC opened a page in support of Barrios-Vásquez on its website.

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