On Tuesday, Congressman Mike Coffman of Colroado’s 6th Congressional District sent a letter to President Trump demanding the president put a military general in charge of reuniting immigrant families who were separated at the border.
Coffman wrote that in his recent visit to the border, there was confusion on the ground about how to make reunification possible due to the number of federal agencies involved. The congressman proposed appointing a general to coordinate the actions of all agencies to cut through red tape to speed up the process of reuniting families.
Meanwhile, in New York, at least one mother reunited with her kids after being separated from them for weeks. Yeni Gonzalez is from Guatemala. She was taken into ice custody as she crossed the U.S.- Mexico border in May. She was released from Eloy Detention Center in Arizona last week and was driven cross-country by a team of volunteers. A group of New York-area parents and artists raised money through crowdfunding to cover her $7,500 bond and the trip expenses.
Two Denver woman were part of the group who helped drive her cross country. Laure Abercrombie is originally from France. She signed up to help Gonzalez as soon as she heard her story. She welcomed Gonzalez into her home in Denver for a night then drove her to Nebraska the next day. Abercrombie described the experience as leaving a lasting mark on her whole family.
“I have two daughters who are the same age as Yeni’s kids and they got to see her. They got to see her pain. They got to see that she was a human being,” added Abercrombie.
Also on that drive was Priscilla Blossom. She joined Abercrombie to help with the language barrier. Blossom is the daughter of two immigrant parents and a mom.
“My son gets to wait for me when I get home and he gets to hug me and I’m so, so lucky to be able to do that. So if I can help in any little way then I’m going to do that,” said Blossom.
More than 2,300 minors were separated from their families at the border from May 5 through June 9, according to the Department of Homeland Security. President Trump signed an executive order to allow children to stay with parents caught crossing the border illegally -- moving to stop the family separations that have triggered a national outcry and political crisis for Republicans.
Like Gonzalez’s kids, there are hundreds more. As of June 26th, the Department of Health and Human Services reported 2047 children from separated families remained in its care.
Abercrombie says she hopes Gonzalez’s story serves as a wakeup call.
“I don’t think I know anyone in this country that will stand for hurting a mom and her children like this, so I really hope that it will change something,” she added.
According to Gonzalez’s attorney in New York, a relative of Gonzalez who lives in North Carolina has applied to become the children's sponsor, but the application process, which includes fingerprint results, could take two months. During that time Gonzalez will be allowed to visit her kids during the day at the East Harlem Center where they are spending their days.
More than 2,000 children have been taken from their families at the border in recent weeks and scattered in different states under President Donald Trump's zero-tolerance policy, which criminally prosecutes adults caught crossing the border illegally. But amid an international outcry, Trump last week issued an executive order to stop the separation of immigrant families at the border.