Thornton immigrant knows pain of being separated from children

THORNTON, Colo. -- Lupe Lopez, a migrant from Mexico, knows what it’s like to be in federal custody away from her children.

The mother of five, who speaks little English, immigrated to the United States illegally in 1998 at the age 16. She came to America to escape sexual harassment and other hardships south of the border.

“For me it’s very difficult,” Lupe said through a translator.

She married and started a family after arriving in the United States. All five of her children are American citizens. Fourteen years after her immigration, a traffic stop changed everything for the Lopez family.

“My kids, at that time, were much smaller,” she said.

Lupe and her husband -- both with uncertain immigration status-- were referred to federal immigration authorities and jailed. Their children were visiting family in Mexico at the time. The kids went four days without hearing from their mom or dad.

“My children told me, crying, how are you? What happened? Where have you been,” Lupe said.

The ongoing saga at the southern border, along with the images of children in cages, have had a huge impact on Lupe and her family.

They are praying for immigration reform -- hoping Republicans and Democrats can come together on legislation with heart that aims to keep families together.

Lupe is still uncertain what the future holds for her in the U.S.