This morning at 11am CST at
George Bush International Airport Sara Caal was reunited with her 5 year old
daughter, Alida, after a 9 month long separation. We tweeted the reunification
Sara is a 21 year old indigenous
Keqchi woman from Guatemala and was released last night from the Pearsall
Detention center after 9 months of detention. Alida was released to her dad in
Houston in early June but because Alida went to live with her dad, Sara then
lost all of the protections of the "Ms. L" lawsuit and was not
eligible to be reunified with her daughter or even to get a new credible fear
Before making the long journey to
the U.S. border, Sara was brutally attacked in Guatemala on account of being an
indigenous woman, and Alida witnessed much of the violence against her mom.
While in detention Sara was made to have her initial credible fear interview in
Spanish despite making very clear to the officer that she only speaks Keqchi.
When she sought to have an immigration judge review the negative credible fear
decision, the judge (appearing by televideo), tore up her interview, threw
it in the trash, and told her that she was lying.
When our attorney, Kat Russell,
sought a re-interview with the Houston Asylum Office, our request was denied
without explanation. We believe if Sara was able to speak Spanish she would not
have been detained for 9 months
Alida hadn’t seen her mom since June
and has had a hard time. She has been scared to go to school because students
and teachers ask her where her mom is, and she didn’t want to say that her mom
is "in jail." In November ICE called our attorney and told her
that they were going to deport Sara, and the only reason that they did not do
it at the time is because Sara stood up for herself and told them that RAICES
told her not to let them deport her.