Eliseo's Story

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Eliseo** and his father fled to the U.S. in the spring of 2018 to seek asylum. They were separated at the border. Federal officials were convinced Eliseo was trying to “game” the system and pressured him to return to his country. Attorneys who’d met with Eliseo and who were ready to represent him in immigration court asked the Young Center to appoint a Child Advocate to the case. After meeting with Eliseo, we urged the government to immediately reunify father and son, so that they could decide as a family whether to continue seeking protection or return home. A week later, we learned that Eliseo was on a list of children that would be reunified with their parents—but only at or near an airport where they would be immediately deported. Our Child Advocate filed a recommendation with every federal agency involved in Eliseo’s case—and helped get his name off that list. Ten days later, father and son were reunified. They spent two weeks together in family detention until an immigration judge approved their release. They are now living in the United States as their asylum case proceeds through the courts. 

**Eliseo's name has been changed to protect his privacy. 

Maddie Witters