Attorney Wants Seven-Year-Old Detainee Reunited With Family

Barbara Schwarz
June 26, 2019 - 8:39 pm
Border Patrol

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EL PASO (1080 KRLD) - A lawsuit demands the government turn return a girl in El Paso back to her parents. The girl was spotted by lawyers visiting the Clint, Texas immigration shelter for children last week, wearing a wristband which said US parents, with a phone number. That's the last time she was able to speak to her father, who had no idea where she was. 

The child's attorney, Amy Maldanado, says says she has supplied the Department of Justice with copies of the girl's birth certificate and her parents IDs. 

"We're asking for her immediate release and they're making her family jump through a series of hoops that are going to take an additional period of time. It's not clear how long that's going to be  before her parents can get her."

Maldanado says the seven-year-old was with her aunt when they were separated at the border. Her parents are legally in the U.S. ready to get her, which means she isn't an unaccompanied child, as immigration authorities claimed.

"What's going on that's illegal right now is the government breaking every applicable law in the consent decree that applies to immigrant children in detention."

She says Customs and Border Protection is designating any child that comes to the border without a parent as unaccompanied. However, the law defines an unaccompanied child as a minor without lawful status, who does not have a parent or guardian in the US. 

"The majority of these kids who are being held in these deplorable conditions, and in my client's case being abused by the CPB officer who made her sleep on a cold tile floor and took away her blanket for losing a comb, those children are not unaccompanied."

Maldanado says the girl, who's now in an El Paso foster home and is inconsolable.