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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Migrants kids held in Miami-Dade could be returned to their parents

Por Kvothe

Two children of four years old separated from their families on the Mexican border with the US and who were brought to a shelter in South Florida are expected to be returned to their parents last Tuesday, a Miami law firm representing the families said recently to the Miami Herald.

The minors, a boy and a girl, from Honduras and Guatemala, will be the first immigrant minors in Florida to be returned to their parents after the short time that the "zero tolerance" policy of President Donald Trump was in effect, said Jennifer Anzardo Valdés, director of the Children's Legal Defense Program from the organization Americans for Immigrant Justice.

The children are among the more than 50 migrants under the age of 5 years that the Trump government reported they would reunite with their parents before Tuesday's deadline, imposed last month by US District Judge Dana Sabraw in California.

Since Trump's "zero tolerance" policy was announced in April, more than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents and sent to shelters throughout the country. The two families of the minors in question who were sent to Florida crossed the border separately, one in mid-May and the other in early June, said Anzardo Valdés.

The boys were taken to a migrant shelter in Miami-Dade, which Americans for Immigrant Justice said they can not identify. The firm represents immigrant minors held in three shelters in Miami-Dade (located in Homestead, Cutler Bay and Miami Gardens) and adults in detention centers throughout the state.

Last month, federal Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Florida, told the Miami Herald that there were 265 separated children held in shelters in Miami-Dade, a figure that included 10 of less than 5 years.

Despite repeated requests from his staff, Wasserman Schultz has not received an update on the figures from the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HSS).

"Even after a call made apparently aimed at providing a detailed update of the situation to lawmakers, the Trump government has only offered vague and evasive answers about the age, status and number of children separated from their families at the border", Wasserman Schultz said in a statement after a conference call with the HSS. "It is outrageous and unacceptable. The American people, in whose name this cruel policy was implemented, deserve detailed answers immediately. "

HHS, which runs the Office of Refugee Resettlement, has not responded to a request for comment.

The Guatemalan father told the law firm that he had not spoken to his son for two weeks, and that during the first phone call the minor cried uncontrollably. "I think the trauma is evident when you see the kids," said Anzardo Valdés. "It is evident that this will continue to affect them a lot."

Anzardo Valdés said that the parents of the children are detained in a facility of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Florida and will soon be released to meet with their children, pending certain procedures. "We are grateful that the family will be able to reunify," he said. "Caring for these children has been a challenge."