Many parents had already experienced weeks of anxiety as their children embarked on the dangerous journey through Mexico, often in the hands of smugglers. Customs and border protection officials this week released a video of a sobbing 10-year-old Nicaraguan boy who was found wandering in a remote area of Texas after being abandoned by the group he was traveling with.
“The inhumane way in which smugglers abuse children while taking advantage of the desperation of parents is criminal and morally reprehensible,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a statement in March. “Just this month a young girl was drowned, a 6 month old was thrown into the river and two young children were killed. fallen from a wall and left alone in the wilderness.
Since arriving in the United States ten years ago, Ms. Mendez, 42, has juggled jobs as a housekeeper, a packer in a seafood processing factory and a chef’s assistant in a restaurant. , sending $ 200 to $ 300 every two weeks to his family.
Last year, Ms Mendez watched her daughter graduate from high school on video. Cindy wanted to fulfill her dream of becoming a computer programmer, and now is the time to do it, she said.
As she headed north towards the border, Cindy spoke to her mother every few days.
To prepare for her arrival, Ms Mendez painted her bedroom pink, furnishing it with a new bed and a colorful princess. She hung helium balloons to make it festive.
Cindy arrived in Texas in early March and was intercepted by the Border Patrol, who took her to a treatment center.
After an initial phone call from her daughter, Ms Mendez anxiously awaited further news.
But weeks passed and every time Ms Mendez phoned a call center of the Refugee Resettlement Office, which is responsible for accommodating migrant children, she learned that her daughter’s case was “on hold. “.