Migrants felt relieved after US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday to end the administration’s controversial practice of separating illegally migrating parents from their children at the US border.
The move comes after the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy against illegal immigration aroused outrage and sharp criticism from both home and abroad in the last several days, being denounced as both cruel and inhuman.
In a shelter that helps immigrants released from detention centers in McAllen, Texas, an undocumented immigrant, named Magda, told a China Global Television Network (CGTN) reporter that she never expected that she would be separated from her children after illegally crossing into the US.
“There they told me that I must stay in one area with my four-year-old, but my boy had to go to another area and my older girl as well,” she said while recalling her detention.
Children were taken away from their mothers. A kid there had not seen her mother in five days, Magda said.
“All the women there, we were in terror, because many of them had seen their children taken away from them,” she said.
Magda asked CGTN not to reveal her last name. Hoping to escape gang extortion, this Guatemalan mother came into the US with her three children whose ages were 16, 13 and four. She feared losing her children if she stayed.
Twenty-three hundred children have already been forcibly taken from their parents since the implementation of this zero tolerance policy two months ago.
The dramatic turn of events was well-received among the immigrant community and by those who help them.
“It’s good, I don’t think that is the only answer that we need. We need to help these families find a solution, a humane solution, detention is not an answer, separation of families is not an answer, we must find ways that these families are safe and protected and help those countries stabilize so these families don’t have to be exposed to so much hardship,” said Norma Pimentel, the Director of the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.
Magda was happy when she heard the news.
“This is good news for the Hispanic community, because no one has the right to separate children from their parents, seeing so many kids crying and asking for their moms was simply unfair,” she said.
Magda and her children will head to Virginia, where a civil court will process her case. Although the ankle bracelet chained to her leg is a constant reminder of her uncertain position, she at least has her children and they have her to lead the way.