CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago federal judge has ordered that another immigrant mother who was separated from her son at the U.S.-Mexico border be reunited with her son.
Sirley Paixao, a Brazilian immigrant seeking asylum in the United States, was forcibly separated from her 10-year-old son, Diego, after crossing the border on May 22.
Diego was brought to Chicago, along with more than 50 other Brazilian children separated from their families under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on illegal border crossings.
This is the second Brazilian mother in the span of two weeks who, through a federal court order, has been reunited with her son in Chicago.
Lidia Karine Souza got custody of her son, Diogo, who spent four weeks at a government-contracted shelter in Chicago.
Souza, who has applied for asylum, was released from an immigrant detention facility in Texas June 9.
Paixao was released from custody on June 13, after passing an initial screening determining she had a credible fear of persecution in Brazil.
Her attorney, Jesse Bless, helped reunite Souza, with her son.
Since Diogo and Diego were staying in the same shelter under the same circumstances, Bless hoped federal authorities would release Paixao’s son without a lawsuit, but they declined, so he filed another lawsuit seeking Diego’s immediate release.
“It was such a bittersweet ending to the week, to be honest, to be returned with only one child and two mothers,” Bless said.
Paixao was able to meet with her son last week, but wasn’t able to take him back with her to Massachusetts.
Bless criticized the federal government for arguing in court that the children that have been separated from their parents are “unaccompanied minors.”
U.S. District Judge Manish Shah rejected that argument last week when ordering Diego reunited with his mom, ruling that continuing to keep him separated “likely violates the law.”
“How long are you going to hold onto this erroneous legal position that these children are unaccompanied? They’re not unaccompanied minors. That’s the legal position that the government has adopted, and that has been rejected repeatedly,” Bless said.
Two similar cases involving 9- and 15-year-old boys from Brazil who were separated from their fathers also are scheduled to be heard in federal court on Thursday.
This is a developing story. Check back with CBS 2 News for more details.
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