You could argue that the situation is getting better for migrant families who are separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. But that may be far from true. Last week, President Trump signed an executive order, ending the separation of children from their parents. And now, some parents no longer face criminal charges. But even after being released from detention, there’s little – if anything – to celebrate.

On Monday, the faith-based charity group, Annunciation House, interviewed 32 migrant parents who were released from detention.

According to legal coordinator, Taylor Levy, they traveled from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. 

The average age of the parents is 34, and the average age of their children is 10. Each parent has spent about 25 days in detention. And among the 32 parents interviewed, only three have been able to speak to their children since being separated. 

While these numbers are distressing, it is the words of these migrant parents that sheds light on this devastating situation. 

Upon arriving at the border, a mother from Honduras was told, “You are considered a criminal to the United States.” And her 6 year old son was taken from her. 

In the interview on Monday, she said, “We are not criminals, we are just people who want an opportunity for a better life. If we were criminals we wouldn’t carry our children with us.” Now, her son is in Arizona and she hasn’t been able to speak to him. 

Another mother, Miriam, said officials took her 4 year-old son while he was still asleep. He is now in New York. She has spoken to him, but shares that “He’s mad at me. He thinks that I abandoned him.”

Fathers also shared that they “came to this country in search of a better future” but now they feel “dañado” or “damaged” because of everything they’ve gone through. 

Last week, President Trump signed an executive order, reversing his own policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. While this cruel and inhumane practice comes to a close, it still does nothing for those families who have already been torn apart. And according to one immigration lawyer, there’s no guarantee that families will be reunited.

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