Five-Year-Old Separated From Family Faced Confusing, Bureaucratic Journey

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October 11, 2018 7:10 p.m.

A five-year-old who’d been separated from her family at the border gave up her right to a bond hearing while in the government’s custody by signing a form she likely didn’t fully understand, The New Yorker reported Thursday.

Helen, who’s last name was withheld by the magazine, was detained at the border with her grandmother, from whom she was separated a month after President Donald Trump claimed he’d ended the family separation policy.

After the separation, Helen’s grandmother and her grandmother’s teenage son were released with GPS-fitted ankle bracelets to await their court dates. Helen was transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, under whose care she was eventually transferred to a foster home.

While in the government’s custody, the New Yorker reported, Helen was given a form by an “unknown official” which — “with assistance from officials” — she filled out (pictured above). She signed her first name next to the statement, “I withdraw my previous request for a Flores bond hearing.”

That, the New Yorker reported, likely cost Helen time away from her family.

Eventually, after months apart and with a concerted legal and public relations push organized by the nonprofit community union La Unión Del Pueblo Entero and several other groups, Helen and her family were reunited. 

Read the full story here.

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