CHICAGO -- Immigration authorities have released the mother of a 7-year-old girl from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The two were detained by ICE in November and were being held in separate detention centers.
The mother should make it to Chicago in a day or so to be reunited with her daughter. The girl is being housed in a facility run by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Community members gathered at Federal Plaza in Chicago to raise awareness about the situation.
The rally was put on by a number of immigration groups and the ACLU that want to bring attention to what they believe is not an isolated case.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Department Of Homeland Security for taking the child away from her mother after the pair sought asylum at the Mexican/U.S. border. They left the Democratic Republic of the Congo fearing for their lives. Even though the mother’s story was found to be credible, her daughter was taken away. It has been fourth months since they've seen each other.
“It’s clear that one of the efforts here was to separate the mother and child in order to try to limit her desire to follow through on her asylum application. And really it’s kind of a cruel policy in terms of using children in that way,” Ed Yohnka, ACLU Illinois’ director of communications said.
Yohnka said it was a tool used by the federal government to keep refugees from coming to the United States.
Sen. Dick Durbin told the Chicago Tribune that the Department of Homeland Security secretary told him this was a mistake.
There has also been limited contact between the woman and the child.