Guatemalan woman reunited with 12-year-old daughter after month of being separated

CNN/ Newswire | 7/2/2018, 11:52 a.m.
Tears ran down the face of 12-year-old Yoselin as she embraced her mother upon landing at Los Angeles International Airport ...
Perla De Velasquez and her daughter, Yoselin, hold hands after a tearful reunion at LAX on July 1, 2018. They had been separated by federal immigration officials for more than a month, according to a lawsuit filed by De Velasquez.

A sharp rise in the number of people seeking asylum from these countries in recent years can be attributed to record levels of violence and gang activity in the region, according to the Washington Office on Latin America, a research and advocacy group.

The De Velasquez family now plans to live in Los Angeles and continue the asylum process, according to a statement from Nexus Services.

Yoselin's father was also reunited with her at LAX after more than 10 years apart, the legal organization said, although the reason for their separation is less clear.

In court filings, De Velasquez and her attorneys have argued the separation of children from their parents at the border is unconstitutional and a racist form of policy.

The suit names Attorney General Jeff Sessions as a defendant and states he has "unabashedly targeted asylum seekers who originate from Central America" by issuing the zero-tolerance policy and saying there are "loopholes" in the application process.

"The system is being gamed," he said in remarks before the Executive Office in October 2017. He said the process for determining whether an immigrant has a "credible fear" of persecution or torture has become "an easy ticket to illegal entry into the United States."

Meanwhile, immigration advocates continue to call for the reunion of families still separated — an ongoing dilemma with no clear legislative solution.

Currently, a flyer issued by the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Health & Human Services called "Next Steps for Families" addresses parents whose children have been taken.

It has a line that reads: "How do I located my child(ren)?"