Migrants have to pay out of their own pocket to reunite with their children, reports Noticiero Telemundo.
The separated families and their advocates had assumed that the government would be responsible for covering the expenses to reunify the families since the Trump administration has opted to separate minors from their parents at the border and is holding them at detention shelters throughout the country without the parents’ say.
However, several shelters where the children are being held are charging the parents for the cost of reunification.
The request for money up front obliges immigrant families who came to the US seeking asylum to borrow and ask for help, which is difficult and delays the reunification between the parents and their children.
“I was held for 45 days,” said 11-year old, Geremy, to Lourdes Hurtado of Telemundo. Geremy, was separated from his mother Otilia and was sent to a shelter in Chicago where he was bullied by his roommate, resulting in a bloody, open-wound in his head. Geremy reported the bullying and was told to stop complaining. He received stitches in a hospital, was returned to the detention center and his mother was never told. The family is suing.
Otilia Asig, Geremy’s mother said that the social worker had told her son that they would have to pay $ 1250 in order to reunite. Geremy’s aunt was able to pay for the costs to reunite Geremy with his mother.
Like the Asig family, thousands of immigrant parents are faced with the need to ask for support when the government notifies them that they must send a money order to recover their child.
In another case, Noticiero Telemundo told of a family that was unable to pay for reunification costs. The family’s lawyer, Carlos Moctezuma paid for the mother’s stay in the South of Texas, her trip to the shelter, and the mother and child’s bus passes to a relative’s home.
“The government has created this chaos and now it is not doing much to help with the reunification. It is a very big expense for the families, ” said Moctezuma.