Asylum hearing is today for Honduran woman being held in Pearsall

September 18, 2018

Josefina might look back on her life and see it cut in three ways: Life before detention, life during, and life after.

The 51-year-old Honduran woman who was separated from her 4-year-old at the border last December is having her final asylum hearing - a merits hearing—this afternoon.

After nine months of being confined at the South Texas Detention Facility in Pearsall, a judge will decide her fate.

Will she be reunited with her son, who’s staying with her 30-year-old daughter in Austin? Or will the judge deport her back to Honduras, where she says she has experienced gang and domestic violence?

Her lawyer, Sara Ramey, thinks there’s a big chance she will be deported. Erik is not Josefina’s biological son—she adopted him when he was born, though she has no government papers to prove it.

Despite the letters from relatives, the photos of them when the boy was a baby, and other proof of her care for little Eric, Ramey doesn’t think the government will consider their relationship legitimate, and allow them to reunite before she’s sent back to Honduras.

It will then be up to Josefina’s daughter, who works the night shift at a tortilleria and is also raising a son of her own, to save up the money to send Erik back to his mother.

Josefina, whose full name is being concealed to protect her identity, and her son were separated under the Trump administration’s preliminary rollout of its zero tolerance policy, in December, and were likely categorized under those “ineligible” for reunification after the administration reversed its practice of separating immigrant families and began the arduous process of reuniting them.

Evelyn had traveled to the United States years before and was waiting for her mother and her little brother to follow suit.

Also working against Josefina’s case for asylum is a prior deportation order. She entered the United States once before years ago and, according to Ramey, missed a court hearing because she had already returned to Honduras.

Josefina and her son have stopped talking together on the phone. She said it’s too painful.

“It’s hard to talk to him on the phone because he gets mad at me, asks if I don’t want to be his mother anymore,” she said in a phone interview from detention recently.

“I tell him soon we will be together. That god will help me so I can rejoin with you.”

Her hearing starts at 1 p.m. today. By 5 p.m., she should know what the future holds for her and her son.

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