Salvadoran Mother Has Her Sons Taken Away By Immigration Officials

“The official said you have 10 minutes to say goodbye, so I hugged them and they kept asking me why they were leaving me. I couldn't tell them why.”

United States border

A Salvadoran mother, identified only as Maria, has reportedly been separated from her two sons who were given under the care of federal government in New York. The family was part of the Central American caravan that journeyed across Mexico to enter the United States.

The 2-year-old and 7-year-old were wrenched away from their mother on May 8 while the family was being held at San Ysidro Port of Entry.

"The official said you have 10 minutes to say goodbye, so I hugged them and they kept asking me why they were leaving me. I couldn't tell them why," Maria told BuzzFeed News. "I told them they couldn't take them away, that they were just kids. They said they couldn't do anything because it had been decided that I was going to be transferred."

The 24-year-old mother was transferred to Otay Mesa Detention Center.

This is not an isolated case.

The Trump administration has emphasized a “zero tolerance” policy for undocumented immigrants entering the country. Most of these immigrants are placed under custody and the children are sent into an indifferent, clumsy system.

It was recently revealed the U.S. government “lost” 1,500 children who entered immigrants. It remains unclear why the U.S. government had no tolerance for Maria who had requested for asylum when entering the country on May 2.

This case again, as if further evidence was needed, reveals the role of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency in harassing and attacking some of the most vulnerable people entering the U.S. In its initial interactions with BuzzFeed News, ICE said Maria had been detained for illegally trying to cross the border.

However, this is untrue, since Maria had passed a test of credible fear on May 8. The test is used to assess whether applicants of asylum demonstrate credible fear of persecution and torture if they are sent back to their home country. The test is used as a legal standard for asylum.

ICE then changed its response to the rather baffling statement that Maria was “in ICE custody pending immigration proceedings.” Her asylum request has still not been acknowledged.


The members of the caravan consisting of at least 1,200 people are under great risk of being persecuted by the U.S. authorities. In a series of tweets, President Donald Trump demanded that Mexico stop these people from finding a way to the U.S. Already, a 33-year-old transgender woman has died under ICE custody due to dehydration and complications associated with HIV.

Maria says she was told to send her children off to a relative who lives in the East Coast.

"We made this entire journey together and in one moment they were taken away from me," Maria told BuzzFeed News. "I don't understand why they have to be so unjust and separate kids from parents...they're just kids."

Banner / Thumbnail : REUTERS / Edgard Garrido

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