SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – A 23-year-old Honduran mother says her baby daughter is not the same person after being separated from her family at the U.S. border.
Sindy Flores is staying with family in San Francisco as she seeks asylum following an emotional reunion with her baby daughter at San Francisco International Airport.
Sindy Flores says it’s been a difficult adjustment for her 18-month-old Juliet, back with her mother after a month-long separation at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“The first night was emotional, I can’t begin to describe, even seeing her for the first time was overwhelming,” said Flores through her interpreter Lisa Castellanos.
KPIX 5 was there last night when Juliet began to cry once she was placed in her mother’s arms at SFO, surrounded by cameras. It didn’t take long for Flores to notice changes in her daughter’s behavior.
“My daughter’s different from the last time I saw her,” explained Castellanos. “She was very playful, very very happy, and now she’s afraid of people and she’s not the same.”
Juliet is also not feeling well. Flores says she believes her daughter has a chest cold, which she says her caretakers never revealed to her.
“They’re lying to parents telling them that their children are fine, that everything’s okay but the truth is that they’re not,” said Castellanos.
Flores says Juliet crossed the border with her father, Kevin Ventura-Corrales, and border agents ripped her out of his arms. He was arrested for re-entering the U.S. after having previously been deported. Attorney Eric Fish says that charge has since been dropped, but he is currently being detained in Arizona by immigration officials.
“Immigration doesn’t need to be this harsh with people like us. We don’t need to be treated this way,” said Castellanos.
Castellanos is a member of Mijente, an immigrant advocacy group which is working to help the family.
Flores says she is just beginning the asylum seeking process, and doesn’t know how long it will take to get approved. She plans to taking her daughter to a doctor Thursday to be evaluated.
ICE did not return our request for comment.