EAST HARLEM, Manhattan -- Yeni Gonzalez was first detained on May 18th. Three days later her three children, Deyuin, 6; Jamelin, 9 and Lester, 11, were taken from her and sent here all the way to East Harlem in New York as she sat at a detention center in Arizona.
"Yeni Gonzalez, after a long and tortured path is standing with her children and she's going to walk away from this facility with her children,” said Sen. Michael Gianari.
Her story struck a chord with a group of strangers, New York City mothers now bonded in an effort to raise money and reunite as many families as they can. Together, they raised $50,000 to bond out Yeni and create a cross country caravan to get her to New York.
Last week was the first time she saw her children since their separation, only being permitted to hold daily visits.
Today she has them with her, she hopes for good.
“We are going to do this if we have to, one by one, to do what the government is not going to do,” said Julie Schwiertert Collazo, a New York City mother who is part of Immigrant Families Together.
Sen. Michael Gianaris, Governor Andrew Cuomo's office and Yeni's attorney, Jose Orechena, also worked tirelessly to make sure this day became a reality.
Two other mom's joined Yeni in East Harlem on Friday and reunited with their own children. Guatemalan mom Rosayra Pablo Cruz was reunited with her 5-year-old and 15-year-old. Maria Gloria was reunited with her 7-year-old and 11-year-old.
Immigrant Families Together thus far raised more than $164,000 and have successfully bonded out 6 mothers from detention centers.