BROWNSVILLE, TX — On Wednesday, an immigrant mother and her teenage daughter were reunited after being separated at the border for over a month.
The 40-year-old mother, who went by the name of “Isabella” to protect her identity, waited for more than six hours outside Casa Nueva Esperanza shelter for minors on Wednesday until the government gave the final approval to release her 17-year-old daughter back to her.
The teen was visibly emotional as she hugged her mother after the two spent 40 days apart.
Isabella said that they were separated after they crossed the border through a port of entry in Hidalgo, Texas seeking asylum on June 2. The separation was not something they expected would happen to them.
She warns other immigrants looking to cross the border to think about it twice, because it is not easy.
“Many people don’t know this can happen because the news doesn’t cover what’s really going on here,” she said.
They both fled El Salvador out of necessity. Isabella described difficult working conditions and discrimination as the reasons she was forced to leave.
Isabella added that she would not have come to the U.S. had she known she would be separated from her daughter.
The government says that 38 children under the age of 5 have been reunited with their families as of Tuesday. It’s uncertain how many have been reunited by Wednesday. The deadline to reunite children age 5 and older, like Isabella’s daughter, is in two weeks.
Isabella and her daughter are both headed to Maryland to fight for her asylum in a hearing on July 26.