In the wake of the undocumented immigrant family separations policy instituted by the Trump administration, those trying to establish themselves in the United States continue to suffer.
This week in Florida, an unnamed 15-year-old girl from Honduras with no apparent family in the United States attempted to escape from the detention facility where she had been being held as a way to ease that suffering. Authorities were transporting her to an eye exam when she made a break for it. She hid in the Gonzalez Auto Center in Homestead, Florida, which is about five miles from where she had been kept.
While at the center, she stayed in a corner and refused to leave for about an hour.
Shop employee Elvis Lopez shared:
‘We were giving her water and some food, but she stayed in that corner the whole time. She seemed pretty scared. She kept saying she didn’t want to go back.’
Eventually, the shop’s owner Frank Gonzalez stopped a police car that was driving by and alerted them the girl was inside. They had been circling the area, looking for the teenager.
While the girl was still at the shop, Lopez called his sister, Bertha, who got in touch with Nora Sandigo, who works with a local nonprofit that assists immigrants with legally tenuous situations they may find themselves in.
Sandigo made her way to the shop to try and help the girl’s plight, but by the time she arrived, the immigrant teen was already gone. She tried to call 911 to let local authorities know that she was trying to help the immigrant’s situation be resolved in her favor, but to no avail.
Gonzalez — who is himself an immigrant to the United States, who arrived in the country from Cuba in the 1970s — defended his choice to turn the girl into authorities, calling it “hard.” He commented at one point, speaking of the police who picked the teen up:
‘They put handcuffs on her, but not like a criminal, like a human being.’
That defense doesn’t correlate to reality. People don’t walk around slapping handcuffs on random people they come in contact with while transporting them to somewhere that they do not want to be.
Gonzalez is a Trump supporter who claims to diverge with the president on whether or not immigrant families should be separated but says he sticks with him on other issues.
As he put his stance:
‘People who want to come here, and work for the American Dream, they should get papers and follow the rules. But it breaks my heart to see mothers and fathers divided from their children.’
Ah yes, “the rules.” Just recently, the Trump administration made it a “rule” for children to be separated from their families upon arrival at the southern border. Those separations — and the general Trump camp complaining about “papers” — affect asylum seekers who are fleeing very acute violence and can not always wait around for a bureaucratic process. They are just trying to survive.
Besides the children separated from their families as a part of the Trump administration’s increased crackdown on immigration, thousands of children like the teenager who tried to make a break for it in Florida on Friday remain in government custody.
They have been abused incessantly according to the testimony of a large number of individuals, and on Friday, Los Angeles U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee demanded that an “outside monitor” be appointed to cover immigrant detention despite counters from the Trump administration.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot