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Emily Ruiz, 4 Year Old US Citizen, Finally Reunited With Her Family

by Van Le on 03/30/2011 at 2:42pm

Good news in our ongoing coverage of the Emily Ruiz case: Emily Ruiz, the four-year-old US citizen who was separated from her parents and returned by U.S. immigration authorities to Guatemala, has finally made it back home and was reunited with her parents early this morning. Watch the video of Emily being reunited with her family:

Emily’s parents and little brother welcomed her home today in an emotional encounter in New York, closing a three-week saga that began when Customs and Border Protection officials at Dulles International Airport refused to send the US-born Emily to her undocumented parents.  Emily had been attempting to re-enter the US with her grandfather after a winter spent in Guatemala when her grandfather was denied admission due to a 20-year-old immigration violation. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials then took custody of Emily, told her father that his daughter could either be placed in some sort of child detention center, or returned to Guatemala, but not sent home to them.  Why didn’t they reunite her with her parents?  According to Leonel Ruiz, the father, the agent told him it was because her parents are in the country illegally.  Fearful she would be put up for adoption if turned over to a juvenile facility, they chose to send her to Guatemala with her grandfather.

Earlier this week, the Ruiz family’s pro bono attorney, David Sperling, traveled to Guatemala to retrieve her along with SEIU official Ben Monterroso.  Hiccups in travel plans routed the return trip through three different airports in Miami, Atlanta, and New York, and delayed Emily’s arrival until very early this morning.

Emily’s father Leonel put out this statement after her return:

Emily is back with us now.  We have no words to express the joy it brings us to see, hold and kiss our daughter again.

We are very happy because we were away from her for so long, without being able to see her or hold her.  We thank all the people who have been working together to make our wish to be with her come true.

My main concern at all times has been Emily’s well-being and my biggest wish is that my family remains together.  Today, with Emily’s arrival, our family is once again complete and united, and that’s what is most important.

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