LA Times: Families reunite after nearly two years apart: ‘Beginning of a whole other journey’

Washington, January 23, 2020

The boy rocked back and forth as he searched every face at the airport, trying to find his father. Byron Xol blended with dozens of others waiting at Los Angeles International Airport to greet their loved ones. But then a man behind Byron asked how long it’d been since the 9-year-old had seen his dad. “Over 600 days,” said Holly Sewell, whose family has cared for Byron for the last nine months. Her eyes filled with tears. Byron had been waiting nearly two years for this moment…The total number of children separated from a parent or guardian under Trump remains unknown. At least 471 parents were deported without their children, and some have yet to be reunited. “I want to make sure that people understand this is a crisis that’s still going on; it’s not resolved,” said Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles), who was at the airport to greet returning parents. “I know that there’s impeachment going on, I know that there is a presidential election going on, but these families’ lives haven’t been able to move on because they’ve been ripped apart.” At the Tom Bradley International Terminal, a crowd of family members, friends, media and advocacy organizations gathered to wait for the plane’s arrival shortly before 11 p.m. A handful of people carried a sign that read, “Welcome immigrants and refugees.” One man held nine heart-shaped balloons he planned to give each parent. As Sewell and Byron waited, a man recognized the boy and stopped. He had sat beside Xol on the plane and the proud dad had shown him photos. “He told me all about you,” the man told Sewell. “Thank you so much for you what you did for him.”

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