Six-year-old Ariel is reunited with his family.
Jesus, one of the deported parents who returned to the U.S./Mexico border earlier this month after being unjustly deported by the Trump administration last year, was reunited with his six-year-old son, Ariel, in Virginia last week. They’d spent ten long months apart.
In footage of the reunion by Together Rising, Ariel is smiling. He looks excited, occasionally sipping from a chocolate milk. But the trauma of being shuffled from U.S. custody to sponsors in Washington, D.C. had also taken a toll. "I don't remember what they are like,” Ariel said about his family, including his mom, Mira and big sister, Riccy. A Together Rising leader “showed him a picture of his family, and he beamed with joy, recognition and relief.”
When Jesus, Mira, and Riccy finally landed at Dulles International Airport, Ariel ran first into the arms of his dad as the others tried to hold back tears. Eventually Ariel breaks down. He’s crying when he’s embracing his sister. Moments later, he’s smiling again as his dad is carrying him. Riccy looks overjoyed, walking next to them and playfully rubbing his head.
Family separation remains a crisis. Together Rising says that 17 of the other parents who traveled to the border with Jesus, Mira, and Riccy continue to remain in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention, unsure of when they’ll be released, much less whether they’ll get a chance to see their own children again. While some of these kids have also been placed with sponsors, others remain detained.
Adding to this humanitarian disaster is that we have no idea yet of the exact scope of the administration’s damage. A government watchdog report found that officials may have separated potentially thousands of kids prior to the official “zero tolerance” policy. The administration tried to claim these kids were no longer its responsibility, a claim a judge firmly rejected. That judge has yet to decide whether these additional families will be reunited. They deserve the same chance as Ariel and his family.
Click below to watch footage of this family’s reunion from Together Rising.