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One migrant mother tells her story of separation, reunion and trauma

Shoes are left by people at the Tornillo Port of Entry near El Paso, Texas, June 21, 2018, during a protest rally by several American mayors against the U.S. administration's family separation policy.
Shoes are left by people at the Tornillo Port of Entry near El Paso, Texas, June 21, 2018, during a protest rally by several American mayors against the U.S. administration's family separation policy.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

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The Trump administration this week reversed its policy of separating families caught crossing the southern border, but thousands of parents and kids remain separated. On Thursday, KPCC caught up with one local mother whose husband and son got caught in the system.

Twenty-one-year-old Claudia came to the U.S. from Guatemala in March with her infant son, seeking asylum. She asked her last name not be used for fear she would be deported.

Her husband had left a month earlier with their oldest boy, a three-year-old. When Claudia arrived, she learned both had been detained. She didn’t realize they were apart until she was released, and was able to contact her husband in detention.

Claudia said her husband told her by phone that officials had taken her son. He begged her to find him, she said.

Claudia didn’t know where her toddler was until her mother-in-law received a call from authorities. Her son had been sent to a federal shelter, then to a foster home. It took six weeks before he was released to the family in Van Nuys.

But while she and her children are together, her husband has been deported. And she said her three-year-old is traumatized. Claudia said he can’t look at the police because he says they took his papa.

Claudia was lucky in that she and her baby were kept together, detained briefly then released after she was fitted with an electronic ankle bracelet.

Since the Trump administration formalized its zero-tolerance policy, more than 2,300 children have been taken from parents crossing the border.

President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday saying detained families will now be held together. No plan to reunify the children with parents have been released to the public as yet.