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Migrant boy, 8, is being held in Kingston, while mother is in Seattle

Jun 20, 2018 1:30 pm
An eight-year-old boy, Abel Alexander Orantes-Lopez, is being held in Kingston at the Kingston Children’s Home while his mother is in Seattle, multiple news outlets are reporting. The boy is one of thousands stripped from their parents as part of President Donald Trump's new immigration policy. "I still haven't been able to talk to him," Blanca Orantes-Lopez, the mother, told The Associated Press in Spanish as she wept through a telephone interview June 18 from a prison. "The most difficult is not seeing him." The New York Post reported that Gov. Andrew Cuomo says there are than 70 migrant kids being kept away from their parents in different parts of New York state. “We have about 10 facilities in this state. We haven’t spoken with all of them. We know there are over 70 children, just by the ones that we have talked about but they are in Dobbs Ferry, Lincolndale, Irvington, three in the Bronx, one in Syosset and one in Kingston,” Cuomo said. He was announcing plans to sue the federal government about the treatment of the children. At least 2,300 children are being kept from their migrant parents because Trump wants to win concessions from lawmakers to build a wall on the Mexican border, and to deter other migrant families from coming to the United States. In the case of the woman with the son being held in Kingston, her lawyer says three years ago the boy's uncle was kidnapped by extortionists and released only after the family paid. "When they don't get their money, they kill people," said Orantes, the 26-year-old mother said. The boy's father is in hiding in Guatemala. Matt Adams, legal director of the Seattle-based Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the mother's lawyer, said they attempted to apply for asylum legally. "A lot of people are showing up at the border to apply for asylum and are being told, 'We don't have capacity for them,'" Adams said. "It's not like they can just stand in a line for several days, because then the Mexican officials will grab them and deport them. So they're then forced to go through the ravine or the river." They immediately reported themselves to immigration authorities and requested asylum, Adams said. U.S. immigration officials then arrested the mother and son May 22, and separated the two. After being held for awhile, they let them see each other one last time. "They told me, 'Say bye to him because he's being transferred.' I asked where," she recounted. "They just told me to say bye to him. ... He just started crying, saying, 'Don't leave me, Mom.' "I just said, 'It'll be OK.' That's all I said." The boy was allowed to talk to his aunt Maria Orantes, who lives in Maryland, on the phone. She has petitioned for custody. "He doesn't feel well there," Maria Orantes said in a phone interview. "When he calls, he's crying. He doesn't want to be there." Trump claimed June 20, after much criticism, that he may rescind the policy. “I’ll be signing something in a little while that’s going to do that," he said. "I’ll be doing something that’s somewhat preemptive and ultimately will be matched by legislation I’m sure.”