Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

New refugee program brings joy to families, adds fuel to debate


Ana Ruano and her daughter Julissa Escobar lingered near a Minneapolis airport arrivals gate, held each other and wept. That day in late June, they met for the first time in 13 years.

Escobar, 21, is among eight people who arrived in Minnesota in recent months through a new program to reunite Central Americans living in the United States with their children. The Obama administration launched it in response to a surge in unaccompanied minors from the region crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Officials tout the program as an orderly alternative to treacherous journeys at the mercy of human smugglers — a route Ruano contemplated but feared too much.

“It’s a miracle,” she said of the program, which granted her daughter refugee status. “I worry I will wake up and find out it never happened.”


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