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Despite policy change, family separated this week

July 15, 2018

A migrant father was separated from his toddler earlier this week at Border Patrol’s central processing center in McAllen, according to attorneys with the Texas Civil Rights Project.

The 24-year-old father was taken to a local detention center while his 2-year-old daughter was transferred to an Office of Refugee Resettlement shelter after they were apprehended on or around July 5 while crossing the border, said Efrén Olivares, racial and economic justice director of the Alamo-based nonprofit.

“We were very surprised, very shocked, because this should not be happening,” Olivares said upon learning of the separation during an immigration hearing Monday at the McAllen federal courthouse, where TCRP attorneys had not observed separations since President Donald Trump’s June 20 executive order putting an immediate end to his administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of separating migrant families who illegally crossed the border.

A San Diego judge subsequently issued a national injunction June 26 ordering the administration to reunite migrant children with their parents within 30 days.

The father, whom Olivares identified as Mario Perez-Domingo, told TCRP staff that despite showing CBP agents his daughter’s birth certificate, she was removed from his custody.

TCRP staff had McAllen’s Guatemalan consulate confirm the authenticity of the birth certificate, and staff members got in contact with his family in Guatemala, who provided photos and documentation confirming the relationship.

A more complete version of this story is available on www.myBrownsvilleHerald.com

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