What to Know
- Yeni Gonzalez, who is Guatemalan, was separated from her children after crossing the border into the U.S. in May
- A group of New York City mothers organized a fundraiser to get her here, where her kids are being cared for at an East Harlem shelter
- Arriving in New York Monday, Gonzalez grew emotional as she was greeted by supporters and as she looked ahead to the reunion with her kids
A Guatemalan mother separated from her children when she illegally crossed the border into the U.S. in May has arrived in New York City to see her kids for the first time in more than a month.
Yeni Gonzalez has been granted a visit to her children, who are being cared for at an East Harlem shelter. News 4 has been following Gonzalez's journey, and she said Monday that the first thing she'll say to her kids Tuesday is "I love you." And then she'll hug them as much as she can.
Gonzalez said she came to the U.S. searching for a better future for her children, to escape the poverty of her country. Last Thursday, an immigration attorney traveled to Eloy, Arizona, to get her out on bond, which was paid for by a group of New York City moms who started a GoFundMe page — complete strangers to Gonzalez.
"We have three children, and I just understand that if there's something we can do with our privilege and within our networks, why wouldn't we do that?" said fundraiser organizer Julie Collazo.
The cross-country journey began last week, with 10 volunteers driving around the clock from Arizona to New York.
After stopping in Central Park and in Long Island City Monday to thank her supporters, Gonzalez readied herself for the final destination — into her children's arms.
She'll only be allowed one visit on Tuesday. Her attorney says there are many steps ahead, including forms, background checks, status checks and finding out who in the household is legal or illegal in the country. All of that could take time.