AURORA, Colo. — The U.S. government has 23 days to reunite families separated from their loved ones at the border. The Trump administration is staying quiet about how many children separated from families are still in government custody.
Tuesday night, Denver7 learned just how difficult and painful this process is for families. We were there as a mother hugged her daughter for the first time in years after being released from a Colorado ICE facility. And it's not over, as she's still waiting to hug the rest of her children.
They wanted to remain anonymous but shared their journey of escaping the violence in Central America. In Aurora, a teenage girl saw her mom for the first time in a long time. The girl was born in the United States and is a citizen, while her mom was in Central America with her two younger siblings. One of those siblings, an 8-year-old girl, was separated from the mother at the border in Arizona.
"It has been almost four years and haven't seen her, and she's everything to me, but right now we have to wait for my sister who was separated from my mom," said the teenage girl.
The little girl is in foster care, while the mother has been at the Aurora Detention Center for the last two months.
"She feels so sad because she didn't want to be separated from my sister," said the teenage girl.
It was part of the now reversed "zero tolerance" policy; separating families claiming asylum. There are reportedly more than 40 parents staying at the Aurora Detention Center who are waiting to be reunited with their kids.
Tuesday night, the family stayed at Casa De Paz, a non-profit group that provides post-release help to immigrants.
Sarah Jackson started Casa De Paz six years ago to give many of them a place to rest their heads, while they plan their next steps.
"She's happy to see her daughter, but she’s also extremely terrified if she'll ever see her other daughter, the one that is still in detention," said Jackson. "For the detention centers all around the country that don't have this post-release support, people are left defenseless on the street with nothing. No money. No phone. Sometimes they don't speak English, and so they're very very vulnerable."
There's still a 12-year-old son back in Central America. The mother plans to get him to the U.S. hopefully soon. For now, she's trying to heal from the trauma of her journey.
"Some women need help, and they just take away their daughters and sons away from them, and it hurts more," said the teenage girl translating for her mother.