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Immigrant Mom Heads To Court, Seeking Immediate Reunion With Son

CHICAGO (CBS) -- An emergency hearing has been scheduled for Thursday in federal court for a woman from Brazil who was separated from her son at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Lidia Souza, 27, wants to be reunited with her 9-year-old son, Diogo, who was forcibly separated from her last month after she turned herself and her son in at the Texas border, requesting asylum.

Although Souza passed an initial screening after arguing her life was in danger in her homeland of Brazil, she was detained in Texas, pending prosecution under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy on illegal border crossings.

Federal officials also took her son away on May 30, and placed him in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees migrant children separated from their parents. After Souza was released from custody on June 9, she moved in with relatives in Massachusetts, and learned Diogo was in a shelter in Chicago.

Although a federal judge in California on Tuesday ordered the government to reunite all of the approximately 2,000 immigrant families separated at the border within 30 days, Souza's attorneys said they are moving forward with an emergency hearing on Thursday to ask a judge to release Diogo into Souza's custody immediately.

Diogo turned 9 years old last week, while separated from his family, at a facility run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Souza and her attorney, Jesse Bless, flew to Chicago earlier this week, and filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, seeking an immediate family reunion.

"We just want the 9-year-old child back in his mother's arms," Bless said. "They fled persecution only to be persecuted."

An emergency hearing on Souza's request will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse.

Souza was able to visit Diogo on Tuesday, spending an hour with her son, but authorities have yet to release the boy into his mother's custody.

Bless said the goal is for Souza and Diogo to go back to Massachusetts and live with relatives while she awaits an asylum hearing.

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