A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words… and Millions of Dollars to Immigration Lawyers

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By Ric Oberlink

Ric Oberlink is the Executive Director of CAPS

June 26, 2018

“Follow the money.”
                                            - Deep Throat

Probably hundreds of millions of people have now seen the famous photo of the crying 2-year-old who has come to illustrate the issue of family separation at the U.S. border. Time splashed it on the cover, juxtaposing the child with an image of a stern-looking President Trump.

Alas, it turns out the child was separated from her mother by only a few feet for only a few seconds while the agent patted down the mother. Time issued a correction, but not an apology: “The girl was not carried away screaming by U.S. Border Patrol agents; her mother picked her up and the two were taken away together.” 
 

It gets even better. Not only did the Border Patrol not separate the family, but instead, the Honduran mother had separated herself from her family. She had abandoned three other children—aged 6, 11, and 14—and her husband back in Honduras. It took a British paper to give us the story behind the story.

 According to an article in the Daily Mail:

The husband opposed his wife's trip. “I asked her, why? Why would she want to put our little girl through that?... I never got the chance to say goodbye to my daughter…. I do think it was irresponsible of her to take the baby with her … because we don't know what could happen.”

  • So why would she do it? She told him she wanted to go to the United States for a “better future” … and had always wanted to experience “the American dream” and hoped to find a good job in the States.
  • Moreover, she had been previously been deported from the US in 2013, and she paid a coyote $6000 for this trip.

Now, Sandra Sanchez, the mother, has truly realized the American dream—she’s all lawyered up. A Facebook fundraising page has raised, to date, over $20 million to pay for immigration lawyers for those breaking into this country. The “Reunite an immigrant parent with their child” fundraiser took off after posting the iconic photo of the crying child who was actually being separated from her father by the child’s mother who had, in turn, separated herself from her three other children. The irony is priceless, or if not priceless, worth at least $20 million.

But separating families is not something new for immigration lawyers. It’s what they do. Before the border surge precipitated by Obama’s DACA amnesty, illegal immigrants were disproportionally young males. Many were leaving behind wives and children. Some were hoping to make money to support their families. Others were abandoning their families. Immigration lawyers are all for reuniting families… or for separating families. Either is fine as long as the illegal immigrants get to stay on this side of the border, and someone pays the lawyers’ fees.

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