Goal 10. Reduced InequalitiesGoal 16. Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions

Hosting An Asylum Seeker: REUNIFICATION (part2)

By April 20, 2020 No Comments

Recap:  Julia is reunited with her mother and brother for the first after spending over a year in a detention facility in the United States. Lucy and her family are there at the airport to greet her and bring her home where they are hosting this newly reunited family. (Read about part 1 of their reunification here.)

Lucy explains how their first day together went:

Julia arrived at the airport after a hectic day where we needed to make an emergency stop at ISAP because of a faulty monitoring battery.  My wallet is missing and I am a little stressed about it.

We arrived at the airport check out line.  We had to go to the cashier line because I didn’t have my wallet.  My daughter was sitting beside me so that Julia could sit in the back and catch up.  Julia’s English is pretty rough. I imagine that my Spanish is better than her English and that isn’t saying much.  The guy ahead of me in line couldn’t pay and they opened another cashier line and I had to back up to get to it. At this very moment, Maria received a call.

I heard the ICE case manager informing Maria that she knows that Maria is at the airport and she is wondering what is going on.  Maria gushed that Julia has just arrived and that she is so excited. She went on to tell her that she was in the office earlier because of the faulty battery but she knows that Thursdays are the days that her case manager is out of the office.  The phone call wasn’t too long. Julia and I immediately knew what was really happening but now looking back, I don’t actually know how I knew that we were immediately on the same page. Somehow, an alert went off that Maria was at the airport and the case manager called as soon as she was able.  They thought that Maria was getting on an airplane to leave the state. Wow. I mean, the case manager showed me the computer screen once that showed me where Maria had been in the last 24 hours. There were a gazillion dots at our house, several dots at neighbor’s houses, and a trickle of dots going from outside the house to Juan’s school.  She was never actually at the neighbor’s houses, there was just some plus/minus error as far as location goes. But wow. I’ll bet there is some kind of alarm around the bus and train station too.

We got home and Julia immediately took to my daughter and her friend.  They were playing outside and playing downstairs. We had dinner and I was upstairs when my daughter came upstairs horrified.  Julia had fallen off the treadmill and there was a huge hole in the wall. My daughter said that Julia was missing a huge chunk out of her hand. Julia was crying and was scared that she was going to get sent back.  I went downstairs to see what had happened. Sure enough, there was a huge hole in the drywall…about 2 square feet. I laughed and my daughter ran to Julia’s room and yelled, “It’s fine, she’s laughing.” Julia came out of the room with a nasty abrasion on her face and there was, indeed, a piece of skin missing on her hand that was about the size of a dime.  It was deep enough to “not be nothing” but not so deep that one would need stitches…I didn’t think. As of this writing, 3 days later, both her face and her hand still look pretty bad. Apparently treadmill injuries tend to be kind of nasty. They have been treating both with alcohol and Neosporin. We will continue to watch them.

Now, in our family, the treadmill is not a toy.  Both my children have been instructed about how to use them.  My daughter’s friend, however, does not have permission to use the treadmill.  To hear my daughter tell the story, she told her friend not to use it, but she did anyway.  I love my daughter very much but like many kids, she will fib to get out of trouble. Apparently her friend was running on the treadmill and then pushed pause.  Julia got on the treadmill and then my daughter’s friend pushed start. Instead of going from a stop to running very slowly, the treadmill immediately began to go the speed that the friend had been going before.  Julia then fell off and made the hole in the wall. This is, as best I know, what actually happened. The friend was pushing buttons frantically to try to slow it down but Julia thought that she was trying to speed it up.  This was absolutely not a good way to start out. Julia is convinced, even now, that the friend was messing with her, but I think that it was just an accident.

Maria rapidly explained what Julia had said about what happened.  She was clearly terrified. I mean, the hole was/is huge and she knows that her family is staying with us at our discretion.  At this point, Maria certainly must have known that I was not going to fly off the handle, but this was a pretty big accident.  I can’t even imagine the terror of wondering what was going on in her head. In retrospect, I know that my missing wallet played a part in her fear.

So, reunification day was filled with all kinds of emotions, some amazing, and some not so amazing.  I really want this story to end up with a happily-ever-after right after the last check in but this isn’t that kind of story.  Barring some kind of divine intervention, this is going to be a complicated story. The events of reunification day are a reminder that this just isn’t a fairytale.


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