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A Reunion for Mom, 6-Year-Old Separated at Border

Pair is among those returned to Guatemala from US
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 8, 2018 2:49 PM CDT
Lourdes de Leon hugs her 6-year-old son Leo Jeancarlo de Leon as they are reunited at a shelter in Guatemala City on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Oliver de Ros)

(Newser) – Nine Guatemalan child migrants who were taken from their parents at the US border arrived home for tearful reunions Tuesday as the Trump administration tries to comply with a court order to return hundreds of separated minors to their families. "I want to see my mama," the AP quotes a 6-year-old boy as saying after he got off a plane at Guatemala City's international airport. Four children arrived on a first flight and five on a second, each escorted by an adult. Ranging in age from 4 to 14, the children were processed and given medical checkups—plus cookies, drinks, and toys—before they were taken to a state-run shelter around midday. Lourdes de Leon, the 6-year-old boy's mother who'd been waiting since 8am, wept as she knelt to embrace him after nearly three months apart. "I promise I will never again leave you," she said. "I missed you so much, my God!"

De Leon previously told the AP she and son Leo went to the US in search of a better life because her low-paid job selling clothing wasn't enough to provide him with a good future. They arrived in Arizona on May 10, and the boy was taken from her a couple of days later. She ultimately agreed to sign a deportation order because she said Guatemalan consular officials told her that would be the easiest way to see her son again. But she was returned to Guatemala on June 7, while he remained in a shelter in New York. Asked whether she would try to go to the US again, de Leon gave an emphatic, "No. The only thing I want is to be alone with my son." Guatemala's vice minister of foreign affairs said Monday that 53 Guatemalan children separated at the US border had been reunited with relatives so far. (Read more border separations stories.)

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