#NoEstanSolos Central America Child Detention children in detention Deportation Deportations deported Detention Guatemala Immigration Immigration Reform Uncategorized USA Zero Tolerance Policy

“We are with you and we will fight for your rights, #NoEstánSolos,” Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guatemala.

Nasario Jacinto Carrillo faces the fight of his life. On May 16th, the US Border Patrol snatched Filomena Jacinto Velasquez-his 5-year-old daughter from his arms- after they crossed the US-Mexico border. Jacinto had migrated to the U.S. on May 7 with the intention of offering better living conditions to his family. His wife stayed in San Juan Ixcoy, Guatemala, with their minor son.

Nasario was deported without Filomena and must now overcome incredible barriers to get her back.

“When I got to the border crossing, they took my daughter, and now I do not know how to get her back. I only heard that she is in New York, but I do not know what to do.”

He told reporters that the thought of his daughter alone in the US was unbearable.

“How will they identify who she is and where she is? How will they know where I am?”

He told Prensa Libre that it will be very difficult for him to travel constantly to process his repatriation and to get Filomena back.

“I don’t have money; I don’t know where the bus stop is, or which bus to take to get home.”

On the bus back to Guatemala he met two migrants. One of them, Elias Mendoza had lived in the U.S. for six years and told Jacinto he had been deported following a traffic infraction. The deportation instantly broke up his family. Elias left behind a wife and his children. Elias’ wife had deposited some money for his travel and he gave Jacinto some money so that he could get home. Thanks to Elias generosity, Nasario would be able to reach San Juan Ixcoy.

nasario in bus
Photo credit: Estuardo Paredes-Prensa Libre

Prensa Libre caught up with Nasario as he tried to frantically find his way back  home:

“I don’t know how to get her back. I sought a better future for my children and my wife. but I could not accomplish it. I want to tell my fellow Guatemalans, don’t take your children. They will suffer in the US. They have our children thrown on floors and give them a piece of aluminum to cover themselves. I have been fighting to get my daughter back. I don’t know how long it will take.  I have suffered so much. I was detained for one month. Now deported, without my daughter.  I’m so sad.”


It is estimated that 465 children detained in the US without their parents are Guatemalan.

Through informal networks, Nasario found out that Filomena is currently detained in the Cayuga Center in New York.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala, Sandra Jovel has been working with US authorities to facilitate the reunification of Guatemalan children, like Filomena, with their parents as soon as possible.

Sandra Jovel told through her social networks this past Friday, June 22nd,  that, in coordination, with the US Government they had successfully accomplished “the reunification of a case.”  One Guatemalan minor had been successfully reunited with his family. Jovel has been using social media to encourage the people of Guatemala letting them know that she is collaborating with US authorities to get the children home:

Meeting with consuls to follow up on the actions carried out with the con-nationals on the borders of the south of the United States.


I asked the US Border Patrol authorities to expedite family reunification cases for the benefit of our children and I said that our consulates are providing all the support required in each case to resolve them as soon as possible


We are with you and we will fight for respect for your rights   (you are not alone).

Sanda Jovel’s efforts to help Guatemalans reunify reveal the complex domestic and international collaborations that will be needed to reunite the approximately 2, 500 children in detention. Friday’s case of reunifying one Guatemalan minor is a success, but there is a long, uncertain road ahead for the rest of them. Especially for migrants like Nasario, who have been deported and live in remote locations, the role of foreign affairs officials will be vital. Without their advocacy, and their pressure on the US to speed up reunification for their constituents,  the fate of those children and family reunification could stay unresolved.

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