Father, son reunite after separated at border

After Alexander Gonzalez and his 7-year-old son were reunited after being separated at the border, Gonzalez says he would not have risked the trip to the US if he had known his child would be taken from him. CNN's Polo Sandoval reports.

Posted: Jun 20, 2018 12:24 PM
Updated: Jun 20, 2018 12:27 PM

It was an agonizing 36 or so hours for Ever Alexander Morejon Gonzalez and his 7-year-old boy.

Caught after being smuggled across the Rio Grande into Texas, the father and son from El Salvador were separated by the US government.

But on Tuesday, after being reunited over the weekend following a day and a half apart, they held hands like they would never let go again and boarded a bus from McAllen, Texas, to Florida, where they will stay with a friend who is a US citizen while Gonzalez awaits a date in immigration court.

The 38-year-old fisherman from a village in El Salvador said he was terrified when authorities separated him from Emerson Alexander.

He thought, "Oh my god, what have I gotten myself into? I'm losing my freedom and my child."

Gonzalez said he was unaware when he and Alexander left their home in El Coyol, El Salvador, on May 16 that the Trump administration had enacted a "zero tolerance" policy on people who entered the US illegally. He said they fled his homeland to escape the daily threats of violence from gangs.

"Had I known I would not have risked my son's life," he said. "I would have stayed in my country."

He said he learned he was being separated from his son when he was being taken to the detention center. He feared he had lost his son.

Officials there asked him if knew the rules about coming to the States, he said.

Gonzalez believes he was released from detention because he has no criminal record and this was the first time he had tried to illegally enter the United States.

CNN reached out to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement for comment and was told to contact Customs and Border Protection. When CNN called Border Protection it was told to call ICE.

Alexander told CNN he was kept in a facility with other children of various ages. He said he didn't cry but there was at least one other who did while they waited for food.

He ran to hug his dad when they were reunited and told him he loves him.

Gonzalez, who used $6,000 of what little money he had to pay a smuggler to bring him and his boy to the United States, will plead his case for asylum with an immigration judge. He was not charged with illegal entry.

The father and son were thrilled to be hopping on a bus for the 24-hour trip to Florida, despite the uncertainty of their future.

Their tickets were paid for by the humanitarian respite center run by Catholic Charities, whose volunteers housed and fed them after they were released, and sent them on their way with bags full of snacks.

The father and son also hope to one day be reunited with Gonzalez's girlfriend and younger son -- who had to stay behind in El Salvador -- in the the safety of the United States.

Gonzalez has to wear an ankle monitor and said he would be at his hearings. He wants his son to have a better life than the one of poverty and constant recruitment from the thugs back home.

"I'm hoping that things go well, so my son can study and be removed from the gang threat in my country," he said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 613228

Reported Deaths: 9728
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion846851338
Lake45676687
Allen32980552
Hamilton29649315
St. Joseph27531382
Elkhart24478345
Vanderburgh19610250
Tippecanoe18108141
Johnson15191295
Porter14944169
Hendricks14485250
Madison11044222
Clark10811144
Vigo10795181
Monroe9458113
Delaware9170134
LaPorte9145164
Howard8292144
Kosciusko810183
Warrick680299
Hancock6782104
Bartholomew6640100
Floyd6507110
Wayne6177162
Grant6027116
Dubois558680
Boone556468
Morgan548695
Henry511464
Marshall506984
Cass486964
Dearborn486545
Noble475659
Jackson427747
Shelby420781
Lawrence393780
Clinton375044
Gibson374459
Harrison353045
DeKalb349864
Montgomery347654
Knox336239
Miami324544
Steuben315046
Whitley311126
Wabash305851
Adams302836
Ripley300546
Putnam298950
Huntington294860
Jasper291734
White275143
Daviess271774
Jefferson266238
Decatur249583
Fayette248648
Greene242262
Posey241028
Wells236951
LaGrange230062
Scott226839
Clay224332
Randolph215248
Jennings200636
Sullivan193533
Spencer193022
Washington188023
Fountain184927
Starke176444
Jay168623
Owen167637
Fulton164830
Orange160935
Carroll159715
Rush156318
Perry155929
Vermillion149734
Franklin149333
Tipton133133
Parke13088
Pike118526
Blackford111822
Pulaski97837
Newton92021
Brown88335
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin74913
Warren6857
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4977
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 868656

Reported Deaths: 10768
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102154707
Cuyahoga865201153
Hamilton64744448
Montgomery43516419
Summit35250762
Lucas31663631
Butler31268232
Stark26096443
Warren19830142
Lorain19296229
Mahoning17471339
Lake16250154
Clermont16128112
Delaware1453680
Licking13326137
Fairfield1294981
Trumbull12920317
Greene12174141
Medina11732168
Clark11058265
Wood10457158
Allen9988127
Portage9454111
Miami924473
Richland9236118
Marion7486113
Tuscarawas7440183
Columbiana7409124
Pickaway732150
Wayne7111172
Muskingum710342
Erie6221130
Ross5558100
Hancock555292
Scioto542764
Geauga515955
Darke473492
Lawrence460658
Union456928
Ashtabula456473
Sandusky439562
Mercer435089
Seneca433866
Huron432841
Auglaize424164
Shelby422522
Jefferson422469
Belmont421145
Washington394240
Athens38389
Putnam378075
Madison358129
Knox356122
Ashland349038
Fulton340443
Defiance334486
Crawford325774
Preble322737
Brown315821
Logan312132
Ottawa296543
Clinton291543
Williams280367
Highland279018
Jackson265845
Guernsey257126
Champaign253428
Fayette239530
Morrow23464
Perry233718
Holmes226774
Henry221953
Hardin215533
Coshocton206922
Van Wert203445
Gallia199826
Wyandot196751
Pike178017
Adams177715
Hocking173224
Carroll157616
Paulding145321
Noble121040
Meigs109724
Monroe102232
Harrison89921
Morgan83931
Vinton71314
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Mostly Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 18°
Angola
Cloudy
21° wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 21°
Huntington
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 18°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 18°
Lima
Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 28° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 18°
More Clouds than Sun Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events