A 6-year-old child sleeps in a vacant office building, surrounded by strangers. An infant is taken from his breastfeeding mother. We examine the stories of two families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border and how what happened to them matches up with what the government said was supposed to happen.
From Reveal’s Aura Bogado, and Neena Satija (who also works with our partners at The Texas Tribune), Anayansi Diaz-Cortes, along with Casey Miner.
Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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From the centre for investigative reporting in p r eggs, this is revealed I'm Allison. For months now we ve been investigating the trumpet ministrations policy of family separation in all more than twenty six hundred children were taken from their parents at the border and even now, two months after a federal court deadline to reunite
in their children there are still kids who remained separated, separate unworldly now. Learning about the mechanics of healthy separations work today were digging into that with the help of a young child who was taken from his mom a child with a remarkable memory,
A few months back, we broke a story about an office building in Phoenix we found out, the immigrant kids were separated from their parents were being kept their. This building wasn't designed to be used as a shelter, and it wasn't a licence childcare
silly children were being kept their overnight with no showers, Millyard Playin, nothing, envy em, a big defence contractor was running the operation
We learn what was happening from interviews documents and videos of kids being marched into the building, but the only people who can really tell us what happened inside of that office building are the people who were inside of that after Spell
That's reveal immigration reporter outer Legato out of here, but he's a initially
the willingness so much about what the conditions were like inside the office building, but now that changed. Yes, thanks to this little boy,
This is a wearisome he's, seven unfettered baby,
Yamaha Blaster, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine ten.
And despite everything, that's happened to him and everything that could still happen to him. He's justice, irrepressibly, happy kid he's smart, he's, quick and has a really
good memory gonna day, let alone the unhealthy Siena gaseous in another seen down, and so here
can hear him say love he seen. I love you seen us so yeah. He was in that envy M office. He swept there and that's the most basic thing here. No one should have ever slept in that office, but let me back up a little bit and tell you about wearisome
I want you to meet his mom to muddy, Anthony and various,
This is money Antonia, lady or everyone cause her Anita Anthony. Then Wilson left what the minor tor-
the end of may this year when Wilson was just six years old.
this in girls, they travelled through Mexico and they cross
the border in Arizona they literally describe walking through this gate on the border, and they were picked up by border patrol and they were taken to a border patrols station.
Where their put in their yoletta in an ice box, and these are really cold.
Right there there known as icebox, is because people described them is freezing cold and the
give it a mylar she'd to stay war. Yes, and
in reporting on these icebox as these. Yet let us for almost a dozen years and in all of those years, don't eat that gave me one of the best descriptions I've ever heard of these places
concrete room, no windows, its full in full to the rim of of women and children, and you can tell how long people have been, thereby how they smell, because there's no place to take a shower.
You get a cup of noodles for every meal, breakfast lunch and dinner any have to use the same cup to fill up your water at this little sink. That's literally attached to the toilet that people use and you don't get a change of clothes. You get this little Matt to sleep on Anthony. They told me that she would find a spare piece of Matt at a woman's feet and have Wilson curl up there just so high,
but have a safe place to sleep so Tunisia and was along with either yeah. They were their six days waiting and it's important to note that Tony
That knows that the government is going to take Wilson away from her. It's one of the very first things
they tell her when when they arrive,
Does it make any new minimum or their long Iowa, Mozilla Europe.
She's saying that she started crying in front of her son when she tells him that they're going to take him away from her Maisie in
told me no mama
who cry mom, nyjorders, don't cry! You meaningful
and women and girls cleans the tears off my face with with his jacket, yoga
The measure when they found my or out of it,
I wanted to be strong for him to not cry. Is it can't be done.
Some of the other women that she was there with try to make her feel
a better by saying look. This is no place for kids, he'll be better off. If, if they take him, the doors were not also alone, but it doesn't make her feel any better s daughter she describes it is as being hit like someone is physically
Her in an emotional that punch is an open. My total go after six days. They
a crap at three thirty in the morning, and they tell her that they're taking him and who is the out. That's a really good question. I've always thought that border patrol took these kids. That's what we ve been told ice has also said that they don't do that, but what they are doing is contracting out to this private companies that defence contractor envy em an that's who takes Wilson. Okay. So let me get this straight back when family separation was still happening this summer, embryo private contractor was actually the one physically separating some children from their parents is zero correct. When I talked with Wilson, I showed him a bunch of
Joseph of different people. Some I had printed out and some were just photos that I had screenshot it on my phone. Some of the photos are of envy employs, but some of the people in these images are just brand and people I found on mine, and I wanted to make
to do that, because I didn't want to lead Wilson on to any conclusions.
And here you can hear me saying I dont know if he recognizes person to do you recognize him and Wilson saying no, no, no others. There is hope
bunch of nose and then suddenly he does recognise one face I'll just at present, as is it.
Towns very sure, I'm gonna do we son was shore, and he was right, though, neither also confirm that this is the person who took him from her. I also have documents to back this up his name
is. There are three areas and we know that he's driven children for envy am old, talk more about them,
trio re as but first
me about how to Nita and Wilson meet him user, the staff from the ice box. They wake them up in the middle of the night and then what happens they caught the need, as name and she's taught, to bring her son and she describes having to walk over people.
But to make her way out of the letter, and she goes into another room that she describes as a sort of hull.
A room, that's full of benches and that's where she is with Wilson and a whole bunch of other kids but they're all teenagers, except for her son and remember he's just six years old at this time.
They ve all weight and the kids are called one by one and finally, Demetrio Reyes calls Winner Son's name Geneva has
describe Wilson as a very obedient little kid, and so when we are so here's his name, he just goes towards the door and beneath that run
after him to try and say good, bye and at First Reyes says that she,
can't do that normally hold, but our capital, many poor Mamma,
yes, they draw, handle a meter,
Who is estimated as she says? He basically tells her
I'm I'm just doing my job, but he does let her sacred by gonna, put out
she hugs Wilson and she told
Is she couldn't even talk? She just sharing,
maybe he needs it alchemy, who was followed.
But on the million were muslim. She wonders. If
Son is going alone. She wondered where he's going. She try
just ask for information but lay as won't tell her one of the things about this. Is that a lot of the people who work for envy him transporting the kids there often almost kids themselves, the Metro lay us is twenty four years old. His the college student
he's a veteran he's. Donate does age, and I want to show you this picture that he posted on Facebook. It was just three days after he had taken with son away from funny that it's a pitcher of him in a tree,
with his mom under him and he's holding a cue young relative. I imagine the kid you maybe three to five years old he's got a buzz, Lightyear T shirt on and the caption beside the photo is love. My mama I mean he had just taken. We son away from
his on Mama just a few days before, and it is difficult to know what's going through his mind when he posts this but there's so there is definitely an irony here. I
You left a lot of messages for Demetrio arrears and haven't gotten response, so we just don't know what he thinks about
his individual role in all this, but I have to say: I'm just so: struck
this is a brown man taking a brown boy from his brow. Mamma. If you think about it, it sort of makes sense, because so many people who are apprehended at the border do speak Spanish, and so I think it facilitates that communication. If you wanna take a child from their parent, why not say it in their language a mean behind all of this? There are serious questions about race. How race, please, into these larger policy decisions. You have to reflect upon the fact that when Donald Trump was all the campaign trail, he called mixed can immigrants rapists. He said they bring drugs and crime
and then, when he becomes president, his administration implemented a zero tolerance policy and family separation, and to do all that, we are learning that the government is relying on paid contractors. Private american citizens to do the work of separating children from their parents, we think of the government or border patrol or some nebulous entity that is taking these kids,
These are individual people who made this process happen,
what did envy. I have to say about this. I've asked envious.
An interview many times throughout my reporting when I contacted this time date decline, but spokesmen Joseph
a bit sent me a along email that included the following statement. He wrote- and I quote it would be inaccurate to describe.
Of envy am or any of its employees of quote, taking or separating a child from his or her parent. That authority rests solely with the responsible government agency. End quote so
Anything M is making this distinction and saying that there is,
Government agency- that's accountable here, but,
He then knows who physically took her son away from her and Wilson recognized him to its nodded uniformed officer of the United States government. It was Demetrio Reyes in APOLLO shirt and Emily and worker in envy IMS rationalization for this. It's basically sailing,
What would say I was trying to build something and at two pieces of wood I need a nail to hold them together and I use a hammer to drive that nail into the wood. I cannot
use the hammer from that equation divided
the hammer. The nail doesn't go into the wood in this case envy him as the hammer there, the tool that is actually going out and separating these children from their parents, and so basically the people who got their hands dirty was empty.
They got their hands dirty and their pockets. Pretty for this toy forty every year has secured government contracts were,
of the two hundred and twenty five million dollars for the transportation of immigrant children in July ICE Press secretary, Jennifer Elsie. I told us.
Then envy him is authorized to use office. Spaces is waiting areas for minors awaiting same day transportation. She also said these offices, or not for overnight housing, that's of part of the contract, so we requested a list of locations where Emporeum was authorized. The whole children, but I told us, no such record- exist meaning ice didn't track where envying was keeping all those kids for their part. Envy him has declined to tell us how many offices he used to keep children overnight or where those offices are located when we come back, Wilson tells us what it was like to live inside the Phoenix Office Building surrounded by strangers, you're listening to reveal from the centre for investigative reporting and p r exe
From the centre for investigate reporting, it p r eggs, this is reveal a mallet today, family separation, through the eyes of a child after come into the. U S from Guatemala six Year Old Wilson in
MT, neither spent six days in a border patrol holding so known as an ice box,
Then, in the middle of the night Wilson was taken from his mom. The man who took him wasn't aboard
patrol agent or an ice officer, but a private citizen, a twin
for your old man named Demetrio Reyes, who works for the defense contractor envy him. The company they kept separate children in a vacant Phoenix Office
reveal immigration. Border out of a girl has been following the story and she's here to tell us what came next for Wilson with
it has put in a van and taken to the office building. He remembers a lot. He told me that Reyes was.
Nice to him that he spoke to him in Spanish.
Where is he?
so remembered what he ate sandwich. You somewhat she panted cheese, sandwiches with letters for breakfast lunch and dinner.
Our full name, I'm SAM with water or maybe apple juice. Sometimes they threw in chips.
And by the way, and the aims spokesmen told me that there were other foods available like oatmeal and hot breakfast sandwiches. But I asked Wilson about this
several times and he never described anything but a cold cheese sandwich, something else
asked Wilson to do, was to draw me pictures of where he was kept. So let me show you a few of those says Wilson's first drawing for me
and this is what he describes as where he slept in the office. Very abstract children's are, but you can sort of sea.
These are like the sleeping bags or the banks that they were in Riyadh
so the mad serve me mattresses that they had on the floor. There are. Eight of them is actually
a job on the child are connoisseur, because I have four of observer.
I had to go through this many times. You learn how to translate,
one is him and a friend this is trying that Wilson,
as is him and someone else who was in this office, building with him washing their hair in the sink.
Allow me to say he says that the office where he slept with the same
place where he washed his hair in in the sink, and he watched his the sink because there wasn't a shower there.
How long we see in the office. So he was my office for two days and on the third day he can't move to a shelter here
drew me a picture of what it was like when he pray for his mommy told me that he used to pray for his mom all the time and the way he did it is. He would tuck himself into bed and place himself under a blanket and then under the blanket pray for his mom
doesn't let go my order. It was almost three weeks before he Anthony Pye got to talk or model of bank that he as she was in detail-
center she'd been moved to Colorado by then flitted. All MA am I the quad. Through a famous, they were on the phone for four minutes,
come on New covey of local level and since I'd never talk to my son by phone because he
always been by my side and poses no lyrical.
Sea level. I didn't recognize its voice and then she says the full could out without warning in all Wilson was separated from two needed for nearly two months: Wilson's birthday
in June, and he turned seven alone in a shelter
when they were finally reunited Wilson. Antenatal Flewed affords myth Arkansas with a family. Now out of you there with the family waiting for them to arrive. You sat with them, while they talked was on the phone before his flight works out like first. Let me play this, for you get it. Does the allow or not
we'll. Let them be details like a completely different atmosphere. So joyful Giveth animals desperandum
so how's Wilson handled the transition from the shelter back to his family life when he finally gets to the house
How's Wilson handled the transition from the shelter back to his family life when he finally gets to the house with his family. Everything is different heap,
ass, his own bed. He is with his mom. They sleep in the same room in in this bunk bed and he hears the voices the accents of the people that are familiar to him, the CIS, his family.
Walk through his whole garden and he's pointing out the name of every plan, every single everything and I'm pretty good was plants, and I was just blown away. This is like this little baby. Botanist out. There
made me: go visa he's eating the foods. He knows his
grandmother made tortillas by hand their sharing a meal together,
just next outdoor. Yes, he started school. I went with him to me
in laughter, it's just sit sit so pure and I'd feel like everything that was. You know the hard core that,
actually started his neck chauffeur. Yes, he started school. I went with him to meet his teacher for the first time and from the minute we got in the car and where, like about to go to the school for the first time,
he started school. I went with him to meet his teacher for the first time and from the minute we got in the car right where, like about to go to the school for the first time, he was
so excited cuz bouncing off the walls, he's yelling phrases
an english and cheap, which is the end
in the language that he picked up from his friends, said at the shelter and he's been playing with.
I kid- and I won't play you all of that, because it'll hurt your eardrums, but you he was so excited he he gave himself hiccups.
I don't know who is so us.
To see him there. He is he's gotta
I'll be in his new classroom. He's got his name on the little desk or he's gonna sit next all of his little friends, and you note walking into that
I assume just reminded me that we ve son, is a first greater heed. He really is that little is so great
this story start our so hard. Now you just making me smile the whole time, it's so good to hear his income families
don't eat. I was happy to never knew a medicine that army she came to introduce her son
he's gonna learn is available.
Even though the journey was was hard now now she's happy
That was our moreover arena
Yemen, yet none. There are countless questions that still remain about her immigration case and she doesn't know. What's gonna happen there, but she does now
but her son is finally in school.
This is, why are you will so right? Let's see
right here when we met his teeth.
Her name is Miss Humph and she was really gracious, so sweet with him, and at one point is she asked
what probably a lot of teachers are, asking kids
Wilson, you do this summer,
This summer, there's always gonna, be this shadow right is they went on, I mean
how does Wilson possibly began
to answer that, so I explained a little yes
I you may have heard about yes
oh gangs, arrive there, how ok
Well, I'm glad you're. Here you have
I smiled and you have happy eyes-
I'm, so happy you're. Here I out of a girl. Thank you so much thank you out
well been in school for about a month and a half and his mom tells us he's doing well. Even during the Cubs gas
thanks to reveals out of a girl and Casey Minor, produce s story. So why did so many kids like Wilson get separated from their parents? The White House says is because families were breaking federal law, but that's not exactly where we found that sub next unrevealed from the centre for investigative reporting and pr eggs from the centre for investigate reporting in p r ex this is reveal I'm Allison. How do we get here? How is it that cows?
of children were stripped from their parents by the United States government. To answer that, I want to take you back to March twenty seventeen and view between sea and ends with Blitzer in John Kelly was the Secretary of Homeland Security at the time he's trumps chief of staff?
Are you, the Department of Homeland Security can
entering a new initiative that with separate children from their parents, if they try to
the United States, a yes
considering in order to deter more
the longest terribly dangerous network. I am considering exactly that. They will be well cared for
as we deal with their parents, parents in kids being separated as a deterrent. Kelly statements were met with outrage, and it didn't take love for him to walk them back, but by the fall. Twenty seventeen lawyers and journalists were documenting some of the first cases. Family separation was beginning. Quite
Then the spring the caravan happened, a caravan of emigrants marching towards a mayor.
Where we live. We begin with the caravan at the border nearly
Two hundred men, women and children are hoping to step foot on. U S, sword hundreds of immigrants, many fleeing violence and Central America travelled to the. U S, Mexico Border,
and many of them plan to enter the United States at a border crossing an official port of entering their goal to claim asylum legally. Are you watching mass that's going on right now with the caravan coming up and our laws are so weak? The caravans were thumb in the eye to the president, who promised to be tough on immigration, especially
does he couldn't do much to stop them, but he could crackdown on people who crossed illegally zero tolerance policy attorney General Jeff sessions laying down the law with a brand new immigration crack down right at the border is how Jeff session said. Zero tolerance would work for you violate the law. You subject yourself to prosecute, in other words sessions once every single person who crosses illegally to be prosecuted for federal crime, known as improper entry by alien any wants him to go to jail. Even parents travelling with young children non citizens across our borders unlawfully with children. They are the ones who broke the law. They are the ones who endanger their
children with this track with parents facing incarceration the administration argued it had no choice but to separate kids and kids can't good deal with their parents. Suddenly family separations explore
I no longer wasn't being described as some radical new policy. Now the White House said it was about enforcing the law cracking down on people who crossed illegally. We've been looking into this claim. Any nasty joke with our partners at the Texas Tribune, along with reveals only on CBS Cortez, have been following one family for months, a family. You first heard about on our show back in June when they cross the border. This summer. This family says they did everything in their power to follow the law they were prosecuted for crossing illegally. Yet, for some reason they were still touch by every aspect of trumps
We separation. This Nina takes a story from here. I first visited elder daughter back in July and you're apartment in suburban away.
As it is
but I've been. We chose, though she's gracious and dressed up to meet me
We'll doesn't or mid forties young for a grandmother it. He with a look look I've been the hand them
she's in the middle of paintings and apologises for the mass. She says, she's
in the apartment ready for her for grandkids and her daughter sandy. She thought they'd be here weeks ago, when the matter is that the IMF or their anatomy Gaza in may yield. I got a call from sandy. She was with her kids all boys ages, twelve, eight five and her youngest babe,
just a few months old. They ve been travelling for weeks and now.
They were standing at an official port of entry, a bridge
king over the Rio Grande day before crossing they dialed Hilda
Galileo to command model, the kids called me.
Forgetting in line to surrender, to border patrols in this single message
he said that in line they gave the baby a happy birthday hug because he was turning. Five
it may seem my meaning that they told me yeah November's we're about to surrender to border patrol Sandy and the kids
we're coming to claim asylum or get me some money. I said: ok, my loves first God willing we'll see each other very soon see Mamma. Is it but it didn't. Look. Ok, lieutenants economic pixels
onward against. Yes, Mamma, either one because as soon as we arrive, we want you to take us to a pizza. Hamburgers, ok, my loves whatever you want them. Ok is that I am a few days.
Asked then elder got another call from sandy. She was in border patrol custody but ultimately
We condemn e mail alone lunacy, but the sad part was when
daughter, called me on Monday. I mean she said, I'm here with the kids, but they just told me that they're going to take away the kids. Why? For gay? Why is a good question
Remember the Trump administrations as family separation was all about enforcing the law. Prosecuting people who were crossing illegally but sent
He says she did everything by the book. She went to bed
edge and waited in line? She turned herself over the border patrol at a port of entry
it's one of the many ways to claim asylum and it's all totally legal, but Sandy's kid
were taken from her anyway and sent to states away to Arizona, and she got
locked up in an immigration detention Centre called port Isabel at the southern Tipp of Texas.
It's really hard for reporters to.
Added to immigration, detention centres to do interviews, but it's different. If you're a lawyer and at the height of the family separation crisis, lawyers were flock,
The point is about once you're going in a sort of in a different world. Ruby powers isn't
immigration lawyer, who specialised
an asylum there's camera
everywhere. This barbed wire, Papa Trunk, show you
turn show you I d I mean: do you feel like you're driving into a prison? Basically, when you go to this of course, of course mean a definite, he looks like a jail, it is Joe Ruby Wendy
it is about to meet with about a dozen parents whose kids have been taken from them. I asked her if she could meet Sandy too. It was a really busy day
I had to wait two hours to get a visitation room and then they brought me her
Sandy was escorted into the room. She was wearing
Lou jumpsuit Ruby says she.
Friendly well, composed? I think I said my name. Is Ruby? Am immigration tourney, I'm here too
view. It was one of rubies last meetings before heading back to Houston, and I thought I'm just gonna talk to her for a little bit and then I'm gonna go, but
when she started telling me her story. I it's almost like time.
Slow down, and all I could think about was what she was saying. What Sandy said
back in Guatemala. She'd been abused, her life threatened local.
Police and gang members targeted her and her family I've seen record.
From Guatemala, national police that back some of this up for her safety were not just
losing her full name or her kids named years ago, sandy
tried coming to the U S illegally and got deported because of that it's unlikely shall be able to get a site
now, but she is eligible for something you could call asylum light which could allow.
Where to stay in the? U S and Work Ruby says Sandy's cases
stay here is a strong one. One of the strongest she heard during her visit at port Isabel Sandy also told Ruby about her for sons.
She hadn't seen them in about a month. She
described the moment. Her baby was taken from her. She told me that the guard said they had to take her baby away, as she said, but I'm still breastfeeding
you know and theirs it doesn't matter she's, nobody, I'm I'm breastfeeding.
This is how we stopped to take them, and did our government took breastfeeding a baby away from her? I just couldn't believe it. I don't know what else to say about that:
I was never able to interview sandy in person, but I did get a chance to talk to her over the phone Sandy
to call while I was visiting eel does apartment in southern California. She was calling from the detention centre to talk to her mom about their Monday and how are you, my dear daughter Sandy, says she's desperate to leave? Our last is gone. Did you talk to the kids mommy area at all.
Sandy tells the elder that whenever she talks too, where kids on the phone they tell her, they want to be with her. She asks if elders been able to talk with them. He may help mitigate or in Vietnam. Is a young lad? Yes, because on Friday they called- I spoke with one of the kids miss a mummy. He said mommy I want to leave here. I want to go with you. Your mommy Sandy says it's not just her being punished. It's the children to when Sandy says this Yoda looks like he's about to cry. No, let me hear nothing. The truth me,
I dont, have words for you and I understand you as a mother Ex tells you know, there's no one.
A hug, the baby, no one
can feel the warmth of his mother. You say have seen as ultimately S. There was something else: the children complained about that they don't let the kids hugged the baby ceremony, not a twelve year old, eight year old or five year old, comrade. Procedurally, how is that possible? Can only that they don't let them hug each other. It will have to be honest answer, but they are brothers. They have never been apart,
What torments Annie is that the baby's finally getting old enough to recognise people, but the only people who seeing are strangers
well I've. India me, you have to have faith. My daughter can William, because its
That is thing for a mother to be separated from her children of Romania's ok memory, in that they are the only good thing. I remember not. Ok, you may have a good night, we'll talk to Morrow K, Mahmoud nearly
ok blessings my queen. They occur in the meaning and whilst by my sweet girl,.
You'll does got her own story to tell just one that connects to Sandy's tore his,
She says our families been persecuted in Guatemala for generations. She left
sure to show me a scar that runs across her stomach, while you're bicycles, hissing what it looks like she was cut in half and sown back together
for years. She's avoided looking at it in the mirror. Sequesters slip of the tongue is maybe your loving put our aim. That is
She tells me it's a reminder of when she was kidnapped, raped and tortured,
the oldest family was in the military. During Guatemala's bloody civil war.
Things that has a lot to do with why she and Sandy were targeted. Its Gilda, who incur
Sandy to ask for asylum and do everything?
legally, but now that's it
in the kids are locked up in a part, Gilda says: if
like the whole asylum thing was a lie:
I reached out to ice and customs and border protection, but they could an answer. My question,
why did the government takes Andy's kids the summer when there's no evidence that she crossed the border illegally and
then just sandy many pair,
who were never prosecuted for this were still separated from their kids,
there are dozens of examples listed in a lawsuit against the government. The Americans,
liberties Union is suing the Trump Administration over four separate
tons of asylum seeking families the lawsuit was filed
I can February months before a family separate,
and was really in the news. The cases
AMOS. Now it's called Miss L,
verses ice in court documents.
The administration had to try to explain why it separated those parents, parents who
hadn't, been accused of entering the country illegally reading through
you can see the government's arguments shift first, it says it separated.
Plaintiff and child because I wasn't sure they were really related, but they were not was
driven by a dna test. So there
The government argues different reasons about why they needed to be separated. Those are
immense, worn enough to persuade the court. The judge ruled that this type of family supper,
mission went beyond its lawful reach. In the end, I can't
Oh you why the government separated children from parents like Sandy all I know for sure,
is, it wasn't about a crackdown on illegal immigration. It wasn't about
tromp administration enforcing the law because
Many families didn't break it late. Yesterday,
does California George Bush appointed by the way issued a nationwide injunction ordering
immigration agents to take several new steps. First, in late, you
The judge in that court case issued an injunction now
it was a deadline at taking clock the
from would have to reunite families who'd been separated, whether they crossed illegally or not, kids would
aid to be back with their parents within thirty days, the youngest, even sooner
the real and I the youngest migrant children, with their families now less than a week away? Separating families was one thing, but could the government put them back together? It wasn't clear there was ever a plan for that. It was a massive logistical challenge.
We're talking about thousands of children in shelters across the country, parents locked up thousands of miles away. How is going to happen? There are reports of
mass confusion surrounding this process. Joining us now is Alex Aser. The health and human
services secretary, Mr Secretary, thank you for your time. This morning there does
to be a lot of confusion on this matter. What can you tell us this morning declare some of that up. Absolute. Thank you. First talk there is absent,
no confusion on our part. We have the kids and we are working to comply with the court order and what that involves in a way that the government says everything son.
Poor, but with a deadline of July tenth just a few days away, we call him
these mom eel that all economic power
has no idea: what's gonna happen next year, either
me? There's a lot of confusion, she's had
about reaching sandy in detention, and now she s
hand over documents proving she's related to the grand kids
you'll, know, doesn't know when or if Sandy will see the kids again and if they're all back together, how did they get to yield a little busy
the day before the deadline. The Trump administration admits. It's not gonna make it.
Maybe only half the youngest children will be reunited with their parents. Sandy's
There are no shelter for migrant children in Phoenix Arizona. Its run by a Texas Base company called southwest key. So I called the company. I hate us. Many cities are more a quarter. Coming from this tribune, how you that's Jeff Ehler, a spokesman for South West key many of the kids separated at the border are staying at southwest key shelters. Mind whether suffers key is about.
Plans for ratifying these kids off a shelter rests with their friends, we're watching the court the same where you are and waiting to hear on the next.
Actually offers some refugees celebrate ok
we met. You haven't heard any plans for months. I just said
worrying the hero next step from the Office of refugee resolve with loud. Imagine, if you all would have liked to get some information about how this transport it that's, what I'm trying to figure out where waiting is
I got nothing more than were waiting on direction from the office refugee resettlement,
without mentioning Sandy's name. I tell him about her case. I have just learned:
that she's been moved too
attention centre near her kids in Phoenix? We actually know one mother whose and transfer to Arizona to her youngest child is in the Phoenix, was thirty
I ask Jeff if he thinks they're gonna be reunited, but it gives me the same response.
Waiting to hear on next up shortly office. Refugee resettlement of access is a fairy.
That means you have not received any direction so far stuff, but I'm not sure if I am not going down that path here. Waiting to hear
I want to know how this is gonna play out for sandy tomorrow's. The deadline will
She got her baby son back. What about her other three kids. I decide to stay put, so I can call my sources work, the phones to find out whatever I can, my colleague on the UN's ideas,
It has had to Phoenix to try and tracked down sandy I get to Phoenix just after midnight on Tuesday July, ten kids under five are supposed to be reunited. Today. That means sandy should be back together with their six month old baby
The first I say go is the shelter were all of Sandy's. Kids are being kept its early
and among the sidewalk right by the main entrance.
Ok we're outside of southwest key, ok,
and I'm gonna go up to try to ask what is going on.
There. How are you I can come in here
Do you guys have any informing our
private property. Scientists say: ok! Thank you. It's a bit of a mob seeing their news vans and I hear they
kids are already being moved, maybe Sandy's kids, but there's no way to know you could see
line of children walk through a parking lot at this phoenix shelter. This morning, then some of them
here to get into a white Van psychology to check in hanging. Are you crazy busy? I give Nina my update
ask her what she knows and what's happening on your end, I'm at my desk and often glued to trying to figure out how this reunification off what happened today for children under three?
Nina tells me she got a tip from an immigration lawyer sandy me,
be reunited with her kids at an ice field office, it's called the enforcement remove on operations centre and its two or three five north central avenue. I'd like good out of a job. Ok, perfect, Nina right! Good luck! Come! If anything, I drive ten minutes to the ice office, a sleek looking building in the middle of the spa of Downtown Phoenix, more news bands. Of course. This is where
the kids were dropped off here. We ve got white man taking group of children from southwest keep facilities in the valley and dropping them off here. The federal government is not expected to meet that deadline. In fact, last check only four
one hundred and two children have been reunited with their families.
The building there are more guards
don't tell me anything and they won't. Even let me park
there's an ice police officer he's waiting outside. He has a bullet professed, there's like a lovely food truck. Are we allowed to get food
hi there? Another question: are we allowed to go to the food truck and get food? I part near the food track to get as close as I can't think you, then I get a text from Nina. That's
as based on recent government court filing none of the four kids were reunited with their parents. So far would be Sandy's kid. I spend an outside the off.
No one knows what's happening, officials aren't talking and then,
Finally, I hear from
and his mom she says, she's barely slapped did Sandy is definitely getting out of immigration detention. Today I o k o k out at this time was spent on love what others I tell her. Yes, I'm at the office we're sandy might be reunited with the kids and then
Give me a surprise on AIDS. I get stuck on those new. She says. No, it's already happened there together now,
Sandy is with her kids, but there still in ice custody. She tell
neither kids were reunited early in the morning, but what's happened since she doesn't know
even this die. Allow me are you gonna, go. I've got a good. I see I see now. Ok, I don't know why
when I talk to elapse later that afternoon, she's
still doesn't know. One sandy and the kids will be allowed to leave. All she can tell me is they have bus tickets, a greyhound from Phoenix to LOS Angeles, leaving after midnight I decide to head to LOS Angeles too, to see the whole family back together again at team apartment.
So I hit the road when I got to eat ass, the blinds or open the front door open wide Manchester Dog is jumping on the three boys Sandy's baby sleeping in the corner, the only obvious sign of what
just been through with the gps, monitor on Sandy's ankle and the circles under everyone's eyes. I ask about the journey from Phoenix that legally Sandy tells me they waited for eight hours at the Greyhound station. Then wrote the bus all night long at one point the baby wakes up and is screaming sandy puts him honor hip. She she whispered to him as I fumble to turn on the recorder testimony to test one too we talk equal. The thing was torso Barroso Siecle Sunny may seem area. I ask her
the separation about how she felt when she was in detention gibbons how about what was tied up in the letter- Yoda, nothing but crying. She says and also much crying and inexplicable sadness impossible.
Particularly even with another. They left Felicia Cassim thirty. That could look assent this that only local NATO. I ask you to tell me how it feels to be with her kids again with
is high level meeting that she says it's something quite beautiful after so much time being separated from them. It was something truly difficult,
not really ever amuse herself. No one Gus circle me see hoses serving I'm peace after all, we ve been through numerous, but now it's time to move on sound exquisitely. Invoking
while on their sandy's baby starts coughing formula she used to nurse him breastfeeding.
But her milk one try when she was in detention after all this stuff
We can't even feeder own kid anymore file when
come on. We failed believing Sandy says everything we ve
There was a terrible trauma than she had not yet.
What about your ass, I wonder: forget it all
that's the way was produced by needest teacher who call reports for the Texas
and reveals any ideas, Cortez Sandy's lucky she was
the first parents to be reunited with all her kids. There are still more than a hundred chill
who may never see their parents again, because those parents have already been deported per cent
an immigration judge has decided that she and her kids can remain in the. U S. For now it could be.
Before she knows. She's, let's stay
They show was produced by announcing Bs Cortez meanest teacher Casey minor bread, Myers
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Is our executive producer? A theme is ex by camaraderie lightning support for it.
As provided by the Raven David Logan Foundation, the John D in Kathmandu, Macarthur Foundation. The Jonathan
We can family foundation, the Ford Foundation, the hiding Simons Foundation and the ethics and excellence in journalism. Foundation reveal
CO, production of the centre for investigative reporting and pr eggs. I'm Alison and remember there is,
always more to the story,
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Transcript generated on 2019-12-20.