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Guatemalan mom who crossed border into Arizona wins asylum case

Protesters rally against the separation of immigrant families in front of a U.S. federal court on July 11, 2018 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. (Getty Images Photo/John Moore)

PHOENIX — A mom from Guatemala who crossed the border into Arizona with her two sons gets to stay in the United States.

Amalia, whose name is being withheld for her protection, and her two boys have been granted asylum. They fled violence in Guatemala and sought refuge in the U.S.

“She’s the first one that we are aware of whose been actually granted asylum, so it feels like a huge important milestone for us,” said Julie Schwietert Collazo, co-founder of the New York-based Immigrant Families Together.

Collazo’s group, made up mostly of moms, helped Amalia get released from Arizona’s Eloy Detention Center last summer. They helped raise $30,000 to bond out Amalia and another mom from Guatemala.

The group also helped Amalia reunite with her sons after they were separated at the border. Over the course of four days, volunteers helped drive Amalia from Arizona to Florida, where her sons were taken.

Collazo said they’ve helped about 70 other families in similar situations.

“Certainly for many of the other families for whom we’ve posted bond, they are interpreting the judge’s decision in her case as a positive sign,” she said, pointing to Amalia’s asylum approval.

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