Seven immigrant children who’d been separated from their families left a New York City social services center Friday holding their mothers’ hands and carrying balloons, backpacks and stuffed animals.
A woman from Guatemala held her 5-year-old son in her arms, more than two months after they were separated. He and his 15-year-old brother have been staying with a New York foster family.
“I want to thank everyone who made this possible because for me it seemed impossible at one point,” said Rosayra Pablo-Cruz, speaking in Spanish. “When it’s in God’s plans, everything is possible.”
They left the Cayuga Center in East Harlem, which has a federal contract to place unaccompanied immigrant children in short-term foster care. Yeni Gonzalez, another Guatemalan mother, was given custody of her three sons, ages 6, 9 and 11. “I feel very happy,” she said.
She thanked elected officials, her attorney, and volunteers who paid her bond through crowdfunding and drove her from the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona to New York.
She had a message for mothers still in detention near the Mexican border: “Fight because with the help of all these people you will succeed, and the help of God.”
Julie Schwietert Collazo was one of the people. She organized the caravan that brought Gonzalez to New York after her volunteer group paid $7,500 bond so Gonzalez could be released from detention. They raised a total of nearly $200,000 and so far have bonded six women out of the Arizona facility, with three more expected to be released.
Asked whether she had anything to say to Republican President Donald Trump, Gonzalez shook her head, no. On Friday, a Honduran mother also left Cayuga quietly with her two children -one carrying a big stuffed bear and smiling.