> A brief moment of joy for Maria Marokine Perdomo and her 11-year-old son Abizi after a long, rough ordeal. The two were reunited in Texas in July after being separated by US immigration officials following their harrowing journey from Honduras. The mother and son crossed into the US through the Rio Grande River in an overloaded raft that resembled a kiddie pool and were apprehended soon after.
Lauren Elliott is at the Rio Grande River in Mission Texas for Reuters. He talked to Maria about why she fled Honduras.>> According to Maria in May, two Honduran police officers pushed their way into her home and demanded money, and one of them hit her with a gun.
She says soon after this experience she received a threatening phone call to produce the money or be killed. Maria feared for her life and quickly made plans to flee for the US with her youngest son. Because of the high cost associated with the trip, Maria had to make a very difficult decision.
To make the trip with her youngest son and leave her older children in Honduras.>> Like thousands of other children, Abizi was separated from his mother under the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy towards illegal immigration.>> I rode with Maria and her attorney to the facility where her son was held.
I wasn't allowed inside the facility because I'm a journalist, but I was able to wait in the car and be present as Maria and Abizi drove back to the respite center where they would spend their first night together. It was a very emotional car ride for the two of them as they hadn't been together for over a month and hadn't known whether they'll be reunited that day or not.
>> Maria now daces a new challenge, how to avoid deportation since Attorney General Jeff Sessions introduced tougher laws in June making it more difficult for immigrants to use violence at home as grounds for asylum.>> To qualify, applicants now need to show that either the government condoned the violence or that they were targeted because of their membership in a socially distinct group.
Sessions also instructed immigration judges and asylum officers to view illegal border crossings as an adverse factor in deciding a case>> While Maria is happy to have Abizi at her side again, their story doesn't yet have a happy ending.