Immigrant parents, separated from children, being held in Nevada

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Closer to home, it appears some undocumented parents separated from their children at the border have ended up in southern Nevada.

Attorney’s at the UNLV immigration clinic have been answering calls from immigrants in federal custody at local jails.

Immigration attorneys say it’s not uncommon for parents to be transferred to other states, depending on the space available.

In southern Nevada, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or “ICE”, pay at least two jails to hold undocumented immigrants. One in Pahrump and the other in Henderson.

“I’m a mother,” said Maria, an undocumented worker. 

The thought of being separated from her children brings tears to her eyes.

“Me identifico porque solamente busca un mejor futuro uno para su familia,” Maria said.

Speaking in Spanish, she says, “I identify with them because we only want the best for our families.”

Her future in Las Vegas remains uncertain but she’s thankful to see her children everyday. That’s not the case for immigrant families who have been separated after crossing into the country illegally.

“We’re not the main location that they’re sending adults from the border but some people have gotten relocated here,” said attorney Laura Barrera, UNLV Immigration Clinic.

She has received at least a handful of calls from parents who are in immigration custody in southern Nevada.

“They have called and said that more than anything they just wanted help finding their children.”

Barrera says, they have no idea where their children are. The immigrants in custody have the right to an attorney but only if they can pay for one.
    
“They’re not going to give them an attorney and that makes things really hard to make their case especially from detention,” Barrera said.

A regional spokesperson for ICE would not confirm how many people are in federal custody in Nevada nor for what reason.

“Una gran tristesa (it’s very sad),” Maria said.  

Attorneys are recommending parents in immigration custody to call a national hotline set up by the Office of Refugee Resettlement National Call Center 1-(800) 203-7001. 

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