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Three migrant dads reunited with their children in Grand Rapids

Ever Reyes Mejia and his 3 year old son leaving the ICE office in Grand Rapids.
Bryce Huffman
Michigan Radio
Ever Reyes Mejia and his 3 year old son leaving the ICE office in Grand Rapids.

Stateside's conversation with ACLU of Michigan attorney April Valdes shortly before the fathers were reunited with their children.

Three parents were able to finally see their children again today in Grand Rapids.

It had been three months since these dads seeking asylum in the U.S. were separated from their children. All of whom are under five years old.

A federal judge gave the government until today to reunite migrant parents with children five and younger.

April Valdes, the Immigrants’ Rights Attorney for the ACLU of Michigan, says the room was very emotional when her clients were reunited with their children.  

“Like any parent, hugging and loving their child and grateful that they are now together,” Valdes said.

These children were all in the temporary refugee foster care program at Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapids. Thousands of children were split up from their families at the southern border, and Bethany saw nearly 100 kids during the peak of the separations.

Valdes says the kids are still too young to really understand everything they’ve been through.

“It’s all confusing to them why there’s so many people here and why there’s so many strangers. Even why they were separated from their parents in the first place, but they now know that they are with their parents and they are safe,” she said.

Ana Devereaux, Supervising Attorney with the Michigan Immigrants’ Rights Center, says it’s been a complicated few months.

“It’s been an extremely difficult process. Both for the children, but also for us, logistically, to navigate ensuring that they’d have access to their parents, that we’d have access to their parents to be able to determine what should happen with them,” Devereaux said.

Valdes says the Honduran men who were reunited with their kids today will have an immigration hearing in Detroit next week.

No specifics were made available about their current living arrangements, but Valdes says a group of volunteers is providing temporary housing in Michigan.

Copyright 2021 Michigan Radio. To see more, visit Michigan Radio.

Bryce Huffman is Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter. Huffman has been serving as a reporter for Michigan Radio since Fall 2016. He has covered a variety of Michigan stories, including immigrants facing deportation, the Detroit-area doctor involved in the female genital mutilation case, and residents concerned about a massive sinkhole in Macomb County. A Detroit native, Huffman graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Journalism. He joined Michigan Radio as a newsroom intern in May 2016.
Read more about the Stateside.