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Immigration Horror: Mom Forced Into Door-To-Door Search For 5-Year-Old Son

An immigration attorney has been speaking out over the past two days as she helped an immigrant mother, released from detainment, search for her 5-year-old son. The little boy was taken from his mother in May, but when she was released, no one seemed to know where her son was being detained. Their reunion was delayed, and attorney Mana Yagani documented their search, as they went from one facility to another trying to find the child.

Photo Credit: Mana Yegani/Twitter

Saturday evening, immigration attorney Mana Yegani introduced her social media followers to Lillian Martinez, a client who had been released by ICE days earlier but was still struggling to be reunited with her 5-year-old son, who she hadn’t seen since May. Martinez was initially told her son would remain with her in a family detention.

At that point, Martinez and her attorney thought they knew where the child was being held — at a detention facility for children ages 7 and up, though he was not actually old enough to join that group. They had completed their due diligence, presenting documentation of the child’s relationship to his mother in the form of both DNA tests and a birth certificate.

However, in what seemed to be direct defiance of a court order, the facility refused to return the child, and wouldn’t speak to his mother and others who waited with her, according to Yegani’s description of events.

Video shows the mother, attorney, and others waiting outside the door of the facility as a worker inside refuses to come to the door or answer their questions.

It wasn’t until mid-day Sunday that they learned the reason: Martinez’s child wasn’t at the Bokencamp Children’s Shelter, where they’d been told to find him. In fact, no one seemed to know where he was, and Yegani and her client began the process of checking shelters and detention centers one-by-one while also aware it was possible the child had been transferred into foster care.

The story of Lillian Martinez and her son has already had its first happy ending: Her dedicated attorney was able to help her locate her child, and after a tearful reunion, the two are together again and working toward the next goal, Lillian’s claim for asylum in the U.S.

In the meantime, Mana Yegani continues to call out the cruel practice of separating children from their parents, and the industry that is profiting from it. She is attempting to bring attention not only to this family but also the damage the system is doing to thousands of children and their families.

Steph Bazzle
  

Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com

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