KIND’s Family Separation Response Team is addressing the profound crisis caused by the Trump Administration taking children away from their parents upon arrival at the U.S. border during its “Zero Tolerance Policy.” We are helping children and families address the long-term consequences of this devastating policy and seek protection.
The team coordinates sustained medical and social services to help separated children and families deal with the trauma of separation. Mental health services are especially critical for our traumatized child clients.
The team interviews new child clients and matches them with free, specially trained attorneys to provide legal representation. The team provided over 300 separated and detained parents with legal assistance and helped them find and contact their children.
The team works closely with KIND’s Regional Team in Central America to locate and support separated parents who were deported without their children.Read more here
By The Numbers
Quotes from Separated Children and Parents
All the below voices were shared with our KIND staff while at Port Isabel detention center.
“Do you think that I will be home by the end of the month? It’s my mom’s birthday and I don’t want to miss it. My little sister’s birthday is in two weeks so I think I will miss hers, but I want to be home for my mom’s.”
-9-year-old girl from Guatemala.
“We were in the cold place, and then they took my mom away. How come they separated us?”
“You can’t send us back! Make sure they know that. They will kill my dad if we go back. Can you make sure to tell them that?”
-8-year-old boy from Honduras.
“No somos delincuentes, no somos criminals, somos seres humanos.”
-In English: “We are not delinquents, we are not criminals, we are human beings.”
-Father who was separated from his child.
“Taking my daughter away from me is not just – it is cruel. I didn’t think the United States could be so cruel.”
-Mother from Guatemala, separated from her 17-year-old daughter.
“I haven’t seen my son in over two months – I don’t want anything from the United States other than my son.”
-Father who was separated from his 9 year old son.
“I just want my son to be safe. That is the most important thing. He is in danger in Honduras. They threatened to kill him. He is only 8-years-old. At this point, I don’t care what happens to me. I just want him to be safe…but (in tears) I also want to be with my son.”
-Father who was separated from his 8 year old son.
“I don’t know how he’s doing; I haven’t spoken to him, I don’t know where he is. We’re here because we watched our family get murdered. One by one, they murdered members of my family and I knew we were next. So I grabbed my son and fled for the U.S. before they could kill us. He has bad separation anxiety – it was bad even before we left because, imagine, he watched his family get murdered. He never wants to leave me and gets really bad if we’re apart and then we got here and they took him. I can’t imagine what he’s like, I just want to take his suffering for him. He can’t be apart from me, he’s suffering, I know it.”
-Mother speaking about her 6 year old son.
“The officer tore my six-year-old daughter from my arms in the middle of the night. As he held her and she cried, the officer pointed at me and told her to look at me. ‘Look at that face, that is the face of a bad father. He brought you here to be separated. He brought you here to get locked away. He brought you here to suffer. Do not forget that this is your father’s doing’ the officer yelled at my daughter as she cried and reached out for me. This is the last time I ever saw my daughter. This is my daughter’s last memory of me. Do you think I am a bad father? Is this my fault?”
-A father from Guatemala who was separated from his 6 year old.
“My daughter, 6 years old, has a heart condition and needs surgery or she will die. In Honduras, that surgery was not available. I had to come so that she could get the surgery and live. What was I supposed to do, stay in Honduras and watch my daughter die? I came so that my daughter could live. What would you do?”
-Mother speaking about her 6 year old
“I came to the United States because I knew that if I stayed, my [six-year-old] son and I would be killed. When we got to the border, a man told me he had to take my son away. I told my son that we would be reunited soon, truly believing that I would be seeing him in a few hours. As the man grabbed my son, he started to cry. He would not stop crying. To this day, I still remember hearing him cry. I did not see my son for 56 days. When we were reunited, my son was different. I do not know what they did to my son. But they did not give him back to me the way that I gave my son to them. My son used to be kind, welcoming, and sweet. Now he is always afraid. He does not trust anyone. Not even me.”
-Mother from Honduras who fled domestic violence and who was recently reunited with her son.
“My daughter was asleep when I put her in the van. I was crying but the guard told me not to cry, that I would see her again after we came back from court. I believed her. But it was all a lie. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to her. I can’t imagine what she thought when she woke up and didn’t see me. She is only 5.”
-Mother from Honduras, separated from her 5 year old daughter.
“I have always respected the law. I never saw myself coming to the United States. I love my home. But we had to escape to save our lives. They killed my mother, they killed my cousin, they shot me. My country couldn’t protect us. I just didn’t want my family to be killed. I didn’t know that they were going to take my children. I only wanted my family to be safe and live.”
Father who was separated from his 7 year old son and 13 year old daughter.