A Guatemalan father and his teen son have tearfully reunited more than a month after they were separated by immigration agents in Texas.
Samuel Cazun, 14, had worried day and night that his father, Edvin Cazun, would be deported while he was housed at The Villages in Topeka, Kansas, a nonprofit housing dozens of migrant children separated from their parents after crossing the U.S.’s southern border.
"I was sad," the teen told The Associated Press. "I wasn’t together with my papa."
Edvin Cazun initially tried to come to the U.S. legally by paying for a worker visa, but the person he paid to help him stole his money and threatened to kill him if he tried to get it back, he told The AP.
So he left with Samuel in the hopes of moving to America, leaving behind his wife and four other children, ages 9 to 18.
The Cazuns spent 15 days traveling from Guatemala to the States, wading across the Rio Grande to make their way into Texas, they said. Once there, Samuel was taken away from his father, who was detained at the South Texas Detention Facility.
The father and son are seeking asylum and were reunited Monday at the Cincinnati airport.
Edvin Cazun buried his head on his son’s shoulder as they tearfully embraced, footage of the reunion showed. Other relatives were also present, and Samuel was able to use a relative's cellphone to video chat with his mother.
"What I want now that we are together is for him to get ahead in life," Edvin Cazun told The AP in Spanish. "I want to be responsible for him. I want him to study in this country. That is the best future for him, no? That is my desire as his father."
There have been 1,187 children reunited with their parents or “other appropriate discharges,” including sponsors and guardians, since the Trump administration implemented its "zero tolerance" policy on illegal immigration, the administration said Monday in a court filing obtained by The AP.
It noted that some 463 parents may not be in the U.S. Those estimates are based on case notes and are under review.