She wept as she embraced her 8-year-old daughter Thursday afternoon at Boston’s Logan Airport, greater than 2,500 miles from the Arizona detention middle the place Gonzalez-Garcia mentioned an immigration agent wished her a “Blissful Mom’s Day” earlier than the lady was taken from her with out rationalization.
“Forgive me for leaving you on their own,” Gonzalez-Garcia cried. “Forgive me, my daughter. Forgive me.”
The long-awaited reunion got here on the identical day Well being and Human Companies Secretary Alex Azar raised the variety of minors within the company’s care who have been presumably kids from separated households. He mentioned there could also be just below 3,000 kids, with about 100 kids beneath the age of 5.
” that I like you, proper?” mentioned Gonzalez-Garcia, on her knees, sobbing and holding the lady.
” that I missed you. You might be the reward that God gave me. I am going to by no means go away you alone once more. By no means. Forgive me my darling for leaving you alone. Forgive me. I did not wish to.”
The embrace lasted minutes, with Gonzalez-Garcia and her daughter each on their knees — the way in which she mentioned the 2 knelt in prayer each morning since their separation. Later, the lady performed with a speaking doll that was given to her.
“I used to be very nervous,” Gonzalez-Garcia advised CNN in an unique interview. “I used to be ready for the second she walked via that door. … She is all I’ve. She is my complete life. It has been so lengthy.”
Gonzalez-Garcia, 31, ran her fingers via the lady’s hair. Attorneys and supporters stood round them. Some dabbed tears.
“There was a time I believed I’d by no means see her once more,” she mentioned.
“However I bought on my knees each day and prayed. She says she additionally prayed each day that we might be collectively once more. … The wait was like an eternity. I am the happiest girl on the earth proper now.”
The reunion was made attainable by legal professionals from two corporations and the ACLU of Massachusetts. Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Massachusetts, helped pace up the reunification course of.
“The irritating factor for everybody concerned on this … is there are not any solutions,” Clark advised CNN.
“There’s by no means been a plan to get these households again collectively. … There isn’t any coverage. It’s a matter of probability, and we’re so filled with pleasure to see this reunion, however there are thousand of households on the market. Some who do not know the place their kids are. And these are the actions of the US authorities.”
“My child got here again to me,” she cried Thursday, holding her daughter tightly. “I knew that we would not be alone. Lord, how can I repay you for this lovely reward?”
“Once I felt I might not stay safely in my nation, I left,” she mentioned in an affidavit.
Mom and youngster endured the generally perilous route from southern Mexico to the US border, the place in early Could they have been taken into custody in Arizona, in line with the lawsuit.
Gonzalez-Garcia and her daughter have been held in a room with 30 to 40 different girls and youngsters, the lawsuit mentioned. Days later, immigration officers took her daughter away, telling her she would “by no means see” the lady once more.
The day earlier than the separation, an immigration officer requested Gonzalez-Garcia a query, in line with the affidavit.
“In Guatemala, do they have fun Mom’s Day?”
“Once I answered sure, he mentioned: ‘Then Blissful Mom’s Day’ as a result of the following Sunday was Mom’s Day,” Gonzalez-Garcia recalled. “I lowered my head in order that my daughter wouldn’t see the tears forming in my eyes.”
Gonzalez-Garcia was ultimately transferred to a detention middle in Colorado, the lawsuit mentioned. She was launched on bond June 19 after submitting an asylum software. She is now staying with associates in Massachusetts.
When she was lastly in a position to attain her daughter by telephone, Gonzalez-Garcia discovered the lady feared for her security after having been bruised and injured by one other youngster at a shelter in Texas, in line with the lawsuit. Her daughter turned Eight whereas on the shelter.
The destiny of hundreds of kids separated from their households on the southern border beneath the Trump administration’s broadly condemned zero tolerance coverage stays unclear.
Azar, the Well being and Human Companies secretary, advised reporters Thursday that beneath 3,000 kids separated from their mother and father are in authorities custody — a determine far larger than the one his division launched 9 days in the past.
HHS had beforehand reported having 2,047 kids separated from mother and father in its care.
Azar mentioned “a evaluation and complete audit of a number of information units” by HHS and the Division of Homeland Safety “has recognized beneath 3,000 kids in whole, together with roughly 100 kids beneath the age of 5” within the care of Workplace of Refugee Resettlement-funded grantees.
The HHS secretary mentioned that quantity refers to kids “who could have been separated from their purported mother and father who have been taken into DHS custody for having crossed illegally or for different causes like considerations for the security of the kid.”
CNN Polo Sandoval, Sophia Lipp, Clare Foran and Sonia Moghe contributed to this report.