Hurricane Survivor, 12, Was Sent to Migrant Detention Center

Bahamian girl has now been reunited with family
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2019 4:41 AM CDT
A Bahamian soldier stands beside people waiting for evacuation to Nassau at the Port in Marsh Harbor, Abaco Island, Bahamas, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019.   (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
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(Newser) – A 12-year-old girl from the Bahamas who ended up in a migrant detention center in Florida after fleeing the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian has been reunited with her family. Kaytora Paul flew to Miami with her godmother on Sunday after being evacuated from hard-hit Abaco Island, where the roof of her family's home had collapsed, the New York Daily News reports. She was sent to a center for unaccompanied migrant children because the godmother was not a biological relative. Officials refused to release her to the custody of her aunt, who had gone to the airport to meet her.

After Kaytora's mother came to the US to collect her, she was told the process she would have to go through could take weeks or even months—and was given a Sept. 26 deadline to leave the US. Kaytora was released from custody and picked up by her mother and aunt Thursday night. Officials tell the Miami Herald that the government "was unaware the girl was a hurricane survivor" when she was placed in custody. Officials say the Department of Health and Human Services sped up the release process amid public outrage over the case. (Read more Florida stories.)

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