"Twenty-nine parents from across Central America who were separated from their children by U.S. immigration agents last year crossed the U.S. border on Saturday, demanding asylum hearings that might allow them to reunite with their children," according to this article from the Washington Post. The parents were deported last year without their children, who remain in the US in shelters, foster care, or with relatives. The parents arrived back at the US border, accompanied by local religious officials and immigration lawyers, to request asylum in the United States.
A woman explained through tears how her daughter had tried to kill herself while in government custody. A man spoke about trying to communicate with his daughter, who is deaf, over a shelter’s telephone. Others carried bags full of belated Christmas gifts for their children.
Many of the parents had been "pressured into signing deportation papers after being separated from their children, before they could begin their asylum claims." Now, immigration law and advocacy groups, with financial assistance from organizations like Families Belong Together and Together Rising which raised money during the family separation crisis, are reaching out to those parents who have been deported to support them in claiming asylum in the US. “'At that point, we were already seeing some of these parents paying smugglers to bring them back to the U.S.,' said Erika Pinheiro, litigation and policy director for Al Otro Lado, which had interviewed deported parents from across Central America who feared for their lives because of violence in their home countries. 'We needed to provide them with another option.'”