Photos: The Agonizing Realities of Family Reunification

Photos: The Agonizing Realities of Family Reunification

Originally published by The Atlantic

Last week, a court-ordered deadline passed, one set for the federal government to reunify more than 2,500 children separated from their families when they attempted to cross the United States border. Government officials say they have now reunited more than 1,800 families, but some are still waiting.  According to a lawsuit, as reported by Reuters, more than 450 immigrant parents have been deported without their children, and their futures are even more uncertain. For the families who have been reunited, the meetings can be bittersweet—happy endings to weeks or months of forced separation—and their living situations remain the same, with conditions that drove them to seek asylum in the first place. Gathered here are images of recent reunifications, parents who still wait, and some of the detention facilities and centers that housed these children across the United States since June.

1.(1 of 3) A woman, identified only as Maria, is reunited with her son Franco, 4, after a month-long separation, at the El Paso International Airport in El Paso, Texas, on July 26, 2018. Maria, originally from Guatemala, was reunited with Franco, who was being held in New York for the previous month, after being separated when they crossed into the United States. 


  • (2 of 3) Maria embraces her son Franco, after a month-long separation, at the El Paso International Airport on July 26, 2018 

    Joe Raedle / Getty

  • (3 of 3) Maria and Franco walk through El Paso International Airport on July 26, 2018 

In La Union, Olancho, Honduras, Douglas Almendarez, a deportee from the United States who was separated from his 11-year-old son Eduardo at the Rio Grande entry point under the Trump administration's hard-line immigration policy, poses with his wife Evelin Meyer, holding a photo of their son, on July 14, 2018 

  • In Eden, Lepaera, Honduras, Jose Guardado, a deportee from the United States separated from his 12-year-old son Nixon at the McAllen, Texas, entry point, gestures during an interview with Reuters at his home on June 23, 2018 

    Carlos Jasso / Reuters

  • (1 of 2) Edvin Cazun, right, of Guatemala, hugs his son Samuel at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport on July 23, 2018, as they reunite after being separated about a month ago at the southern border after they crossed the Rio Grande into the United States. Edvin said they were separated at the "detention" and he spent 15 days without knowing anything about his son. 

    John Minchillo / AP

  • (2 of 3) Samuel Cazun, right, of Guatemala, hugs his cousin Nelson and speaks to his mother on a mobile phone after reuniting with his father, Ervin, at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport on July 23, 2018 

    John Minchillo / AP

  • On June 28, 2018, a detained immigrant child watches a cartoon while awaiting the arrival of First Lady Melania Trump with other young detained immigrants at a U.S Customs and Border Protection immigration-detainee processing facility in Tucson, Arizona 

    Leah Millis / Reuters

  • On June 19, 2018, children and workers are seen at a tent encampment recently built near the Tornillo port of entry in Tornillo, Texas. The Trump administration is using the Tornillo tent facility to house immigrant children separated from their parents after they were caught entering the United States under the administration's "zero tolerance" policy. 

    Joe Raedle / Getty

  • Children and workers are seen at a tent encampment recently built near the Tornillo port of entry on June 19, 2018, in Tornillo, Texas 

    Joe Raedle / Getty

  • On June 21, 2018, mayors with the U.S. Conference of Mayors join together at the Tornillo–Guadalupe port of entry to call for the immediate reunification of separated immigrant families in Fabens, Texas 

    Joe Raedle / Getty

  • Law-enforcement personnel keep an eye on the mayors and media at the Tornillo–Guadalupe port of entry on June 21, 2018, in Fabens, Texas 

    Joe Raedle / Getty

  • Demonstrators block a bus with immigrant children on board during a protest outside the U.S. Border Patrol Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas, on June 23, 2018 

    David J. Phillip / AP

  • On June 23, 2018, an immigrant child looks out from a U.S. Border Patrol bus leaving as protesters block the street outside the U.S. Border Patrol Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas 

    David J. Phillip / AP

  • Children are escorted to the Cayuga Centers, which provides foster care and other services to immigrant children separated from their families, in New York City, on July 10, 2018 

    Brendan McDermid / Reuters

  • On June 22, 2018, in Harlem, New York, children wearing masks exit the Cayuga Centers. More than 239 migrant children who were separated from their parents and relatives at the U.S.–Mexico border were under Cayuga Centers' care in New York. 

    Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / VIEWpress / Corbis via Getty

  • On June 22, 2018, in Harlem, New York, a boy wearing a mask exits the Cayuga Centers 

    Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / VIEWpress / Corbis via Getty

  • Melvin Garcia, a deportee from the United States who was separated from his 12-year-old daughter Daylin Garcia at the McAllen entry point, shows a letter sent by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement during an interview with Reuters in Choloma, Honduras, on June 21, 2018. The letter reads "Your daughter is detained in a juvenile detention center in south Texas. She has a pending appointment in court." 

    Carlos Jasso / Reuters

  • In Guatemala City, Guatemala, Maria del Carmen Tambriz, an immigrant, reacts on July 26, 2018, after being returned from the United States without her daughter after they were separated by U.S. border officials 

    Luis Echeverria / Reuters

  • Migrant parents, all of whom were separated from their children by U.S Customs and Border Protection, arrive at the Annunciation House migrant shelter after being released from U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody on June 24, 2018, in El Paso, Texas. The 32 parents that arrived had faced charges for illegal entry into the United States and will continue with the legal process as they wait to be reunited with their children. 

    Joe Raedle / Getty

  • A man, identified only as Eduardo, stands with his son Louis, 7, in an Annunciation House facility after they were reunited earlier in the day, on July 19, 2018, in El Paso, Texas. The two, originally from Honduras, were reunited in an ICE processing center after being separated for three months when they tried to cross into the United States. 

    Joe Raedle / Getty

  • A man, identified only as Tomas, sits with his daughter Yessica, 13, as they are cared for in an Annunciation House facility after they were reunited the day before, on July 24, 2018, in El Paso, Texas. Tomas and Yessica, originally from Guatemala, were reunited at an ICE processing center two months after the two were separated when they tried to cross into the United States. 

    Joe Raedle / Getty

  • Saylin watches as her father, Nery, plugs in his ankle monitor for charging as they are cared for in an Annunciation House facility after they were reunited on July 25, 2018, in El Paso, Texas. Saylin and Nery, originally from Guatemala, were reunited at an ICE processing center about two months after they were separated when they tried to enter the United States 

    Joe Raedle / Getty

  • A man, identified only as Antonio, hugs his son Vauldio, 7, in an Annunciation House facility after they were reunited the day before, on July 19, 2018, in El Paso, Texas. The two, originally from Guatemala, were separated for two and a half months after they tried to cross into the United States. 

    Joe Raedle / Getty

  • Ildra Medreano, an immigrant seeking asylum, tries to hold back tears as she sits with her son Kenneth at a Catholic Charities facility not long after they were reunited on July 23, 2018, in San Antonio 

    Eric Gay / AP

  • Immigrants recently released and reunited with family members arrive at a Catholic Charities facility on July 23, 2018, in San Antonio 

    Eric Gay / AP

  • (1 of 3) Dunia, an asylum seeker from Honduras, waits to be reunited with her 5-year-old son Wilman at Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport in Brownsville, Texas, following their separation of more than five weeks through the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, on July 20, 2018 

    Loren Elliott / Reuters

  • (2 of 3) Dunia is reunited with her son Wilman at Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport on July 20, 2018 

    Loren Elliott / Reuters

  • (3 of 3) Dunia and Wilman walk hand in hand in Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport on July 20, 2018 

    Loren Elliott / Reuters

  • A man, identified only as Rene, helps his son Oscar rehearse the Pledge of Allegiance in English in an Annunciation House facility after they were reunited with each other in El Paso, Texas, on July 25, 2018. Rene and Oscar, originally from Guatemala, were reunited after being kept apart for about two months. 

    Joe Raedle / Getty

  • (1 of 2) Paulina Gutierrez Alonzo, a 26-year-old Quiche indigenous woman, shows a photo of her 7-year-old daughter Antonia Yolanda Gomez Gutierrez on her cell phone during an interview at her grandfather's house in Joyabaj, Guatemala, on July 26, 2018. Gutierrez Alonzo was deported from the United States in June and separated from her daughter, who is currently at an immigration center in Arizona despite the July 26 deadline for reuniting children with their families who were caught entering the country without authorization. 

    Moises Castillo / AP

  • (2 of 2) Paulina Gutierrez Alonzo, the mother of Antonia Yolanda Gomez Gutierrez, answers questions during an interview at her grandfather's house in Joyabaj, Guatemala, on July 26, 2018 

    Moises Castillo / AP

  • (1 of 2) Arnovis Guido Portillo reacts as he shows his daughter's belongings at his home in the Corral de Mulas village in Puerto El Triunfo, El Salvador, on June 23, 2018. Arnovis was deported from the the United States without his 6-year-old daughter Maybelline. 

    Jose Cabezas / Reuters

  • (2 of 2) Arnovis Guido Portillo shows his daughter's toys at his home it the Corral de Mulas village in Puerto El Triunfo, El Salvador, on June 23, 2018 

    Jose Cabezas / Reuters

  • (1 of 3) Rolando Bueso Castillo and his wife, Adalicia Montecinos, wait for the arrival of their son Johan at the airport in San Pedro de Sula, Honduras, on July 20, 2018. Captured by Border Patrol agents in March, Johan’s father was deported, and the then-10-month-old boy remained behind in a shelter in Arizona. 

    Esteban Felix / AP

  • (2 of 3) Adalicia Montecino and her husband, Rolando Bueso Castillo, are surrounded by the media as they walk with their son Johan Bueso Montecinos, after being reunited on July 20, 2018. Johan arrived in San Pedro Sula on a government bus. 

    Esteban Felix / AP

  • (3 of 3) Adalicia Montecinos holds her son Johan at a restaurant in Yojoa, Honduras, on July 20, 2018 

    Esteban Felix / AP

  • Elsa Ortiz, a Guatemalan who was deported from the United States in June, accompanied by her father, Julio Ortiz, asks to have her son back as she demonstrates outside the hotel where U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and authorities from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico were holding a meeting in Guatemala City on July 10, 2018 

    Johan Ordonez / AFP / Getty

  • A child reaches through from the Mexican side of the U.S.–Mexico border fence on June 24, 2018, in Sunland Park, New Mexico 

    Joe Raedle / Getty

  • On July 26, 2018, a woman from the Mexican state of Michoacan, who did not give her name, stands with her daughter as names are read off a list of people who will cross into the United States to begin the process of applying for asylum, near the San Ysidro port of entry in Tijuana, Mexico. As a court-imposed deadline passed last week for the the Trump administration to reunite thousands of children and parents who were forcibly separated at the U.S.–Mexico border, asylum seekers continue to arrive in cities like Tijuana, hoping to plead their cases with U.S. authorities. 

    Gregory Bull / AP

    Read more:https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2018/07/photos-the-agonizing-realities-of-family-reunification/566330/

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