After spending 326 days separated from his father, Ervin Alvizures finally gets to hug him again, in the middle of an Arkansas airport.
Last May, the 10-year-old came to the United States with his father, Jose Alvizures, seeking asylum. They said they had been getting death threats from gangs in Guatemala.
Jose doesn’t speak English. While he was in ICE custody, he said he signed his own deportation order without fully understanding what it was. The document was in English — and Jose said no one properly explained to him what he was signing.
After his father’s deportation, Ervin remained in the U.S., stuck in ICE. custody. Five months later, he was released to an uncle living in Arkansas.
Ervin and Jose were just one of the families separated as a result of the Trump administration's so-called zero tolerance policy. Currently, the American Civil Liberties Union is in federal court, pushing the government to move quicker to find and reunite families who were separated.
But getting families back together can be a long and arduous task. It only happened for the Alvizures family because they had assistance from the nonprofit Al Otro Lado. The organization provides legal help for deportees, migrants and refugees.
Jose was allowed back into the U.S. pending his asylum hearing.
No one was happier than Ervin, who gave his father a crushing hug as he greeted him.