The six-year-old girl on the other end of the line tells Alexa she fears they will never be together again. In another 15-minute phone call, she questions if Alexa still loves her. She asks Alexa to pick her up from the family she’s staying with in New York. Alexa hears the girl say the words in Spanish: “You are my mom, I want to be with you.”
Alexa wishes she could go get her. But Alexa’s locked up 2,400 miles away, at an immigration detention center in Arizona.
Alexa, 23, and her six-year-old niece arrived at the US border from Guatemala in early 2019, after gang members murdered much of their family and Alexa was left as the sole caretaker of the little girl. It’s been more than seven months since US officials on the Arizona border separated them. It’s the longest they have ever been apart. Now they are in the hands of a system that won’t make it easy for them to reunite.