Lawyer representing woman separated from son at border plans to file federal lawsuit

BOSTON (WHDH) - BOSTON (WHDH) – A lawyer representing a Brazilian woman who was separated from her son at the southern border says he is flying to Chicago Monday in the hopes of filing a federal lawsuit that will reunite his client with her child.

“I just want this poor child back with his mother,” Jesse Bless, who is representing Lidia Karin Souza, said during a press conference Monday morning at Logan Airport.

“The pain that he has expressed audibly, it makes you cry,” Bless said, adding, “If I get a settlement today securing the child into my care, I’m immediately flying back.”

After she was granted asylum from a dangerous situation in her home country of Brazil, Souza made her way from the Texas detention center to Massachusetts almost two weeks ago.

But her 8-year-old son, Diogo, remains in a Chicago facility, and there’s no knowing when the two will be reunited.

As tears streamed down her face, Souza recalled the last time she saw Diogo. It was at a detention facility in Texas. She said goodbye and was placed in handcuffs.

“The feeling of helplessness,” she said through a translator, “not being able to help or do something…it’s killing me.”

Immediately after she was released from custody, Souza inquired about her son. She was given a phone number to call but no one answered. She reportedly found her son, after two weeks of no communication, thanks to a friendship she formed in the federal facility with another Brazilian mother.

“The only way I get to speak to my child is because at the federal facility I met this other Brazilian mother who then contacted her child and said ‘my daughter has a friend named Diogo, maybe it’s your child.’”

Souza says she is only able to speak to her son twice a week. During these phone calls she says Diogo often cries and tells her he is hungry.

Souza says she spoke with the case manager last week after President Trump signed the executive order demanding that families trying to cross the border illegally be detained together, hoping to be reunited with Diogo. According to Souza, the caseworker dismissed the plea, saying, “you can believe them if you want to.”

“That was like a cold bucket of water over me.”

Bless says his client was in a dangerous situation in Brazil. She fled and claimed asylum at the border.

“We have a mother who’s been vetted by the government, there’s no dispute that she’s the mother, she has a safe place for the child, and yet they will not give us a time for when they’ll reunite this family,” Bless said.

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