A woman from Honduras was overcome with joy as she was reunited with her three-year-old son early Tuesday morning, after not being able to see him for over a month.
But the feeling didn’t last long, as both were quickly put on a plane to leave Kansas City.
Kenia Bautista and her son Noah were reunited outside the Immigration and Border Control Enforcement Building on Ambassador Drive, as supporters and attorneys cheered and a crew from Netflix captured the moment.
Now both will be deported.
The mother and child were separated in May after the Missouri Highway Patrol noticed a car drift onto the shoulder of Interstate 35 about 30 miles north of Kansas City. Bautista and her son were seated in the back of the vehicle. During the stop, police discovered both were in the United States illegally.
According to Bautista’s lawyer Megan Galicia, the Honduran mother slept on a “too-thin jail mattress” that made her backache, as she awaited deportation.
Bautista, now six-months pregnant, fled to the US to escape an abusive relationship in Honduras, where she feared for her life and the life of her son.
According to a recent ruling in March, domestic violence is no longer considered grounds to seek asylum.
While waiting for the reunion, there was a small scuffle involving Bautista’s attorneys.
“Shocked that I would get hit in the face and my colleague would be pushed down,” Galicia said. “I mean these are people that we have a relationship with and work with every day representing all kinds of clients. I think they’re just mad.”
Immigration attorney Andrea Martinez said her foot was fractured during the scuffle.
“I never, ever thought in my career as an immigration lawyer that I would have a physical assault by an ICE officer," she said.
Late Tuesday afternoon, ICE issued this statement: “Early this morning an incident occurred at the Kansas City ICE office while ICE ERO officers were attempting to reunite a mother with a family member. We take any allegations against ICE personnel very seriously and are looking into the matter. Until a review of the documentary evidence is completed, ICE can issue no further public comment on the matter.”Protesters say it was important to support the family.
“This is not something that’s new. It’s been happening for 15 years and we’ve been fighting against it and people are now seeing how inhumane and broken the system is and how it’s tearing families apart,” one protester said.
"Good people are being split away from their families, not just at the border, but here," supporter Rick Behrens said.
Bautista’s attorneys have appealed to the decision to have the mother and son deported.
After Bautista and her son were taken to Kansas City International Airport, Immigration and Customs Enforcement took Luis Diaz into custody. Diaz was the man who brought Noah to be reunited with his mother Tuesday. He was also the man who was driving the car when Bautista and her son were found to be in the country illegally.
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