A very emotional scene inside Dulles airport this morning when an 11 y/o, held by ICE for 6+ months, reunited with his mother & grandmother. He claimed asylum at the border and was detained, yet the mom was already living legally in VA. She sued the Trump administration & won. pic.twitter.com/rJaH7Eqh3q— Patrick Torphy (@PatrickTorphy) September 22, 2018
Months after President Donald Trump rescinded the malicious “zero-tolerance” policy, videos of bittersweet reunions of immigrant families came to light.
The latest heartbreaking video making rounds on the internet is of an 11-year-old boy who had been detained for six months after attempting to claim asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The boy's mother, Karen Yadira Rodriguez Gutierrez, broke down in tears at Washington Dulles International Airport after seeing her son for the first time in several months.
According to CBS, Gutierrez had already been living in Virginia as a legal asylum seeker from Honduras. However, the boy was detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when he crossed the U.S. border in California with her undocumented grandmother, around six months ago.
"They were seized after presenting at a border entry point," said a press release from Nexus Services, which provided legal aid to the mother.
Though initially the pair were detained together, they were ultimately separated. Gutierrez didn’t get to meet her son for months and it might have stayed that way had she not filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration.
The video footage, which has since gone viral, showed Gutierrez tightly embracing her son, all the while sobbing loudly. The boy met her mother and grandmother just as eagerly.
This reunification is just one of the most recent examples of how the brutal family separation policy affected hundreds of migrant families.
According to the New York Times, some of the migrant children who were finally reunited with their parents were unable to recognize their parents.
Moreover, some migrant kids began to show signs of disturbing and lasting trauma after they were reunited after months of separation.
For instance, a Brazilian woman who was separated from her 5-year-old son, Thiago, for 50 days, said she noticed changes in her child’s behavior. No longer did Thiago liked playing with the Minion characters from the “Despicable Me” movies. Instead, his favorite game was now pretending to be immigration officers patting down and shackling “migrants” with plastic cuffs.
All these signs are indicative of a tragic repercussions of such forceful separations, which was bound to take a toll on children’s mental health, their memory and their personalities overall.
Just recently, the class-action lawsuit was filed by a group of lawyers who claimed the Trump administration should be held accountable for the “life-altering” emotional trauma the immigrant children suffered and cover the costs of their mental health treatments.