Immigrant mom heads to court to get her son back

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CHICAGO: When Lidia Karine Souza would call her 9-year-old son — allowed just 20 minutes per week — he would beg his mom though tears to do everything in her power to get him out of US government custody and back to her.
The 27-year-old Brazilian mother, who is seeking asylum, has been trying with all her might.
She searched for weeks to find Diogo after the two were separated at the border in late May. When she was released June 9 from a Texas facility, she filled out nearly 40 pages of documents that US officials told her were required to regain custody.
Then they told her that the rules had changed and that she needed any family members living with her in the United States to be fingerprinted and still more documents. This was not the safety she had sought for herself and her son. This was not the American dream.
“This … is a nightmare,” she said, sitting in a suburban Chicago hotel, still waiting to be reunited with Diogo, from whom she’d never spent more than a week apart before this.
On Tuesday, Souza’s attorneys filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to demand her son be immediately released. He has spent four weeks at a government-contracted shelter in Chicago, much of it alone in a room, quarantined with chicken pox. He spent his ninth birthday on Monday without his mom.
Her lawyers moved forward with an emergency hearing Thursday morning in US District Court in Chicago despite a federal judge’s order forcing the government to reunite more than 2,000 children with their families within 30 days, or 14 days in the case of those younger than 5. The judge in Souza’s case heard arguments but declined to immediately rule. A decision could come later Thursday.
Jesse Bless, an attorney from Jeff Goldman Immigration in Boston, one of two firms representing Souza, said he had trouble getting excited over Tuesday’s injunction because the government could still delay further. “We struggle to trust at this point,” he said.
For days and weeks now, some of the hundreds of parents separated from their children at the Mexican border by the Trump administration have been battling one of the world’s most complex immigration systems to find their youngsters and get them back.