NEW YORK — Thousands of undocumented children across the United States have been separated from their parents at the border, with many unsure when or if they will ever be reunited.
Attorney Jose Xavier Orochena represents a mother who is detained in Arizona and her three children, ages 5, 8 and 10, were taken away from her and sent to an immigration foster care center in New York.
The mother approached the border and later surrendered to authorities. Her children were physically taken away from her and were somehow taken to a shelter in New York, Orochena said.
How were the children taken to another state?
No one is certain. According to Orochena, there is no public database for children as there are with adults.
"Right now I can track my client, where she is in Eloy. I can track her movement throughout the detention facilities. However there is no public database for children," he said.
Immigration lawyers told Orochena his client's children were in facilities in Texas or Arizona, but a social worker was able to locate the children in New York after trying to get in contact with family members the mother requested to take care of her children.
However, the children are not with family members because the facility has so many requirements, and they are unable to successfully fulfill all requirements.
Will families ever reunite?
According to Attorney Orochena, there's a chance not all families separated will reunite because of the system.
"Most of these migrants are poor and coming from poor situations," he said, "They can't afford lawyers."
"If the mother, or father, or both are deported, and the children remain here, there is a possibility they go through the family court system. There's a court date. They ask mom or dad to appear, neither one appear."
But once the parents are deported, there is no legal way for them to get back to the United States and appear in court, which may lead to the chance their parental rights of their children to be terminated.