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Emotional reunifications as mothers see children years after being separated at the border

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Posted at 3:19 PM, May 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-06 16:28:41-04

At least two reunifications took place so far this week between mothers and their children separated years ago at the U.S.-Mexico border.

At the San Ysidro port of entry in California, Sandra Ortiz hugged her son Bryan for the first time in nearly four years.

Ortiz and her son, then 15 years old, were separated at that very same port of entry. The pair was fleeing cartel violence in Mexico when they came to the border with the U.S.

She was deported and her son was initially placed in a government facility before being placed with older siblings in California.

Mabel and her sons, Mino and Erick, embraced for the first time in over three years this week in Philadelphia. Mabel is from Honduras and came to the U.S. fleeing violence. She spent two years in ICE detention before being deported back.

Her sons have been living with their grandmother in Philadelphia.

These families are among the first to be reunited by organizations working with the Biden administration’s Family Reunification Taskforce.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas calls the four families reunited this week “just the beginning” of a broader effort.

Thousands of families were separate at the border under policies during the Trump administration. Some reunifications have been difficult as agencies work to locate deported parents.

Four families are to be reunited this week, the first of more reunifications expected in the following weeks.

Questions still remain about the status of parents brought to the U.S. to reunify with their children and whether they will be allowed to stay in the country or not.