Judge Orders Asylum-Seeking Mom Reunited with 9-Year-Old Son in Chicago

Per a judge’s orders, a 27-year-old mother from Brazil and her young son are being immediately reunited in Chicago, following a monthlong forced separation by U.S. immigration officials.

U.S. District Judge Manish Shah wrote in an order issued Thursday afternoon that “continued separation of D.F., a nine year-old child, and (Lidia Karine) Souza irreparably harms them both.”

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Lidia Karine Souza arrived in the U.S. in late May and is being considered for asylum after the United States government found “credible fear of persecution in her home country.”  

Officials nonetheless took Souza’s son from her, and the Department of Health and Human Services ultimately transferred him to a Heartland Alliance shelter facility in Chicago.

After Souza tracked him down, she saw Diogo (referred to in court documents by the initials “D.F.”) only once – this week – and was otherwise permitted to talk with him by phone for 20 minutes weekly.

Diogo turned nine Tuesday.

“We are thrilled that Lidia Souza and her son will be reunited today as the result of this afternoon’s order,” Souza’s attorneys Jesse Bless and Britt Miller said in a statement. “Judge Shah has vindicated the rule of law and taken a definitive step to allow Lidia’s son to finally be with her again. We are hopeful that this outcome will benefit other families facing similar circumstances.”

The U.S. Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Follow Amanda Vinicky on Twitter: @AmandaVinicky

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