Hundreds of US citizens gather at New York airport to meet migrant children separated from families
Hundreds of people gathered outside a New York airport to welcome arriving child migrants who have been separated from their families.
Campaigners met at LaGuardia Airport in Queens on Wednesday evening as a plane carrying what was thought to be minors detained while crossing the US border with Mexico landed.
Protesters held signs with phrases such as “we love you” and “we are with you” written on them in Spanish.
“We’re here to show solidarity and to show love to the kids who are being separated from their families,” Antonio Alarcón, an immigration youth organiser, told CNN.
“We’re here to show them that we love them and that we care about them – that they’re not alone.”
Witnesses said a number of migrant children were seen being escorted out of the terminal and onto further transport by guardians.
They were then reportedly taken to a facility in upstate New York.
“I saw four little children being walked by a transport guardian into a van, who had their belongings in a plastic bag, who looked petrified,” said protest organiser Stosh Cotler.
“This is the moment when everyone in this country has to recognise that what is happening right now to immigrant families, children, parents.”
More than 2,300 children are thought to have been separated from their parents while attempting to cross into the United States since the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” illegal immigration policy was launched in May.
However, Peter Schey, the lawyer in a 1990s lawsuit that resulted in an agreement governing the treatment of migrant children in detention – called the Flores settlement – said there were still issues the president needed to address.
Mr Schey said he was concerned several thousand children had been separated from their parents “without the Trump administration having any effective procedures in place to reunite children with their parents, many of whom have already been deported”.
It remains unclear what will happen to the children who have been removed from their parents’ care at the border in recent weeks.
Officials have insisted work is underway to reunite families as soon as possible, but have provided no clear answers on how this will happen.