US judge orders immediate release of detained Brazilian boy
CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge in Chicago today ordered the immediate release from detention of a 9-year-old Brazilian boy who was separated from his mother at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Judge Manish Shah said Lidia Karine Souza can have custody of her son, Diogo, who has spent four weeks at a government-contracted shelter in Chicago. The mother, who has applied for asylum, was released from an immigrant detention facility in Texas on June 9.
The decision came two days after a different judge ordered the government to reunite more than 2,000 immigrant children with their families within 30 days, or 14 days for those younger than 5.
Souza's attorneys nonetheless moved forward with an emergency hearing in their lawsuit against the Trump administration to demand her son be immediately released. He has spent four weeks at a government-contracted shelter in Chicago, much of it alone in a room, quarantined with chickenpox. He spent his ninth birthday on Monday without his mom.
Souza has said that when she would call her 9-year-old son – allowed just 20 minutes per week – he would beg his mom though tears to do everything in her power to get him back to her.
The 27-year-old woman, who is seeking asylum, searched for weeks to find Diogo after the two were separated at the border in late May. When she was released June 9 from a Texas facility, she filled out nearly 40 pages of documents that U.S. officials told her were required to regain custody.
Then they told her that the rules had changed and that she needed any family members living with her in the United States to be fingerprinted and still more documents.
At a hearing today, government attorney Craig Oswald said U.S. officials have been "raked over the coals ... before" for not being thorough about such background checks, which he said are meant to ensure a child's safety.