Woman from El Salvador reunited with her children in Indiana - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Woman from El Salvador reunited with her children in Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS - Governor Mike Pence says Indiana should not be expected by the federal government to deal with what he calls a failed national immigration policy.

The governor learned from media reports that 245 undocumented children, caught at the U.S. border were relocated to Indiana, without his permission or knowledge. Pence appeared on FOX News, saying he wants the children sent home.

"Long-term placement with private individuals or with institutions is not the answer. But what we ought to be doing is humanely processing these children and families and returning them to their home countries, reuniting them with their families that's right for them," Pence explained.

But according to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement, those children are staying with family members, friends or other sponsors.

Eyewitness News found one of the families in Indianapolis reunited for the first time in years.

Maria Garcia hasn't seen her oldest children since she fled El Salvador eight years ago. Speaking through an interpreter, she said, "I feel happy. And I feel the safety that I know nothing it going to happen because they are with me."



She didn't recognize 9-year-old Julio or his teenage brother and barley recognized 18-year-old Gloria. Speaking through an interpreter, as well, Gloria said, "I feel protected with them. I feel good. I feel happy. I don't want to go back to El Salvador."

After hearing their story, no one would.

Maria followed her husband to America after a thief broke into their rural home and committed unspeakable crimes. She cried when she talked about it.

It was difficult, she said, leaving her four children with their grandmother. Gloria described a living nightmare.

"Thieves in the houses. Lots of violence to the women, things like that," she said.

Things so terrible Gloria and her older sister stopped going to school three years ago.

"They need to pay the thieves so they wouldn't be hurt. They didn't. You don't pay, they can attack you or kidnap you to get the money from your family," the interpreter explained.

Maria and her husband worked eight years to save the $12,000 so-called "guides" charge to move children thousands of miles from central America through Mexico to the U.S. border. It took Gloria and her two younger brothers three months of walking and riding buses.

"I was hungry. I was cold. They slept in the mountains. There were several days they didn't eat or drink anything," Gloria said.

They feared they wouldn't make it, but didn't turn back, because home was worse. After being held months in U.S. detention centers, the children and their mother have a new fear.

"That they are going to deport them. That's what's worrying her. Return them to El Salvador," the interpreter said.

Julio and his young siblings are enrolled in school. Gloria intends to finish high school.

Mom has big dreams.

"Her dream is that that even if she doesn't have a better future, her kids will have a better future. They will work and learn English," the interpreter said.

The American dream, in any language. But for now, the family waits to see what's in store for them in Indiana. There is one more daughter waiting and watching from El Salvador.

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