Brazilian boy, 9, and mother reunited after judge’s order
A Brazilian mother and 9-year-old son separated at the U.S.-Mexico border were reunited Thursday after a federal judge in Chicago ordered the U.S. government to release the child, saying their continued time apart “irreparably harms them both.”
Judge Manish Shah mulled his decision for just a few hours before finding that Lidia Karine Souza can have custody of her son, Diogo, who has spent four weeks at a government-contracted shelter in Chicago. Shah ordered that the child be released Thursday, and hours later the mother and son were standing in front of a row of TV cameras smiling at each other. Diogo wrapped his arm around his mom’s waist and she wrapped hers around his shoulder.
The reunion occurred as the White House is under increasing pressure to bring families back together after a judge this week ordered federal officials to do so in 30 days for many parents and children. More than 2,000 children remain separated from their parents, and critics say the government has no plan to reunite them.
White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told reporters on Air Force One that various federal agencies “are continuing to work through ensuring that remaining children are reunited with their parents.” When asked if the Health and Human Services Department – the agency that’s in charge of reuniting families – will be able to comply with the 30-day deadline, she called on Congress to reform the nation’s immigration system.
At the news conference at her lawyers’ office in a Chicago high-rise building, Souza was asked if she had a message for President Donald Trump. Speaking through a Portuguese translator, she responded, “Don’t do this to the children.”