What to Know
- About 2,300 children were separated from their families over a 6-week period after Jeff Sessions announced a new 'zero-tolerance' policy
- In New York City, the Cayuga Center is housing more than 200 migrant children; Mayor de Blasio toured the center Wednesday
- More migrant children flew into LaGuardia International Airport and brought to a waiting van; hundreds protested the separation of families
Several young boys flew into LaGuardia International Airport and were taken to a waiting van as hundreds of people flooded the terminals to protest the separation of children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
As the boys were being escorted through Terminal B, community activists protested, some carrying signs in Spanish, saying "we're with you" and "you are not alone."
"I told him that we were fighting for him that we loved him and turned to me and was just crying," demonstrator Cristina Jimenez said. "I promise we are going to keep fighting for him until he is free and reunited with loved ones."
"We're here to show solidarity and to show that we care about the kids and to show them the love from the community," another protester said.
The Daily News reports the seven boys all arrived from Dallas. It's expected more children will fly into LaGuardia throughout the day on Thursday.
On Wednesday, American Airlines, United Airlines and Frontier Airlines have asked the Trump administration not to put migrant children who have been separated from their parents on their flights.
The three airlines said the administration's recent immigration policy of separating migrant families conflicts with their values.
However, American flew the children into New York City, but said in a statement that they became aware of the group of teenagers being escorted without parents and delayed the flight to "ensure the facts around the trip."
''Only after being given complete assurance by their escorts and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that these individuals had not been separated from their families and were, in fact, going to being reunited with family members, were we and our team members comfortable allowing the flight and these passengers to complete their trip," the airline said in the statement.
Later on Wednesday, President Donald Trump abruptly reversed himself and signed an executive order halting his administration's policy of separating children from their parents when they are detained illegally crossing the U.S. border.
Seventeen undocumented Central American children are being cared for at a facility in Westchester, News 4 New York has learned, one of several in New York taking in children separated from their families during the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" border policy.
On the quiet campus of Children's Village in Dobbs Ferry, social workers are trying to calm the fears of children crying for their parents.
"All day long, all day long, all they want to know is, are their parents OK?" said Jeremy Kohomban, who runs the Children's Village.
The federal government has tens of millions of dollars in contracts with local New York programs now receiving the children separated from their parents. MercyFirst on Long Island has eight children between the ages of 6 and 10; not one had even a sibling with them on the long 2,000-mile ride to New York. In New York City, the Cayuga Center in East Harlem is caring for 239 migrant children.
The Cayuga Center, which has classrooms in a six-story building across the street from an elevated train line, has a federal contract to place unaccompanied immigrant children in short-term foster care.
Mayor de Blasio, who toured the center Wednesday, said the staff there told him it has taken in about 350 children since President Trump's administration implemented its "zero tolerance" policy this spring calling for the criminal prosecution of all adults caught crossing the border illegally.
The mayor said he visited a classroom where about 40 children, mostly from Guatemala, were working with three teachers.
"It looked like the kids were being treated very well," the mayor said, although he said a number of the children arrived with physical problems, including lice, bed bugs and chicken pox.
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De Blasio called the Republican president's immigration policies inhumane, but praised the staff at the Cayuga Center.