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7-year-old girl reunites with immigrant father 326 days after being separated

Father and daughter reunite 326 days later
Father and 7-year-old daughter reunite after 326 days 03:01

In the series "Separated and Counting," CBS News looks at the real-life impact of immigration policies that have led to families being split apart.

Houston — It's been one year since former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, in which migrant families were separated at the border. The policy was struck down and a federal judge ordered families reunited by October.

Seven-year-old Angie and her father, Adelino, arrived at a border crossing in McAllen, Texas, last year, seeking asylum from threats of violence in Honduras. It was a journey Adelino said they had to take because their country is unsafe. 

Angie was taken from her father on June 1, during the Trump administration's now-discontinued "zero tolerance" policy. She was released to her mother in Houston, but she hadn't known her since she was a baby. Adelino was the only parent she knew and he had been raising her as a single parent. He could request to be reunited, but only at the risk of putting her back in detention.  

The organization Immigrant Families Together stepped in, paying Adelino's $8,000 bond so he could be released from the Adelanto detention center in California. The next day, he flew to Texas to see her again.

Angie, 7, was separated from her father for 326 days. CBS News

Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director at Immigrant Defenders Law Center and the attorney representing them, says she has seen an increase in the number of family separations over the last few months.

"It's not the same as it was under 'zero tolerance' where it was literally every single case that parents were being ripped from their children. But we're continuing to see a trend of family separations and this being used as a way to dissuade people from coming to the United States to seek protection," Toczylowski said.

CBS News was with Angie as she headed to the airport and as her 326 days apart from her father finally came to an end. Adelino said if he was going crazy as an adult, he couldn't imagine the suffering going on in Angie's young mind.

He's concerned about how to explain what happened to his daughter. When they were separated, she was asleep in his arms. He doesn't know if she even knew what happened. At least now the healing process can begin.

Separated and Counting series: 

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