A grandmother says she hasn’t seen her autistic grandson since they were separated at the border 10 months ago, according to an immigration attorney.
Maria de Bastos arrived with her 16-year-old grandson in New Mexico last August at a port of entry, the attorney, Ed Beckett, told a Fox TV affiliate in San Antonio. He said she told federal authorities she and her grandson were seeking asylum.
De Bastos and her grandson were held for two days before being separated, Beckett told the TV station, adding that the woman’s grandson was classified as an unaccompanied minor by the Department of Homeland Security.
"When she came in, she did have legal paperwork to show she was the legitimate guardian, a court order from Brazil. CBP ignored the paperwork," Beckett said, referring to Customs and Border Protection.
Beckett said de Bastos’s grandson is now being held at a state-run center in Connecticut and is "having a lot of difficulties in his new surroundings,” according to a letter he obtained from the child’s social worker.
The attorney said he faces challenges with de Bastos's case, noting that her visa has been revoked in the past, even though she does not have a criminal record.
According to Beckett, de Bastos was deported and banned from the U.S. for five years after she admitted to a CBP agent at an airport that she had been making profits from babysitting.
"She's not a threat to public safety. She's not a threat to national security. She's been truthful. She has a legitimate asylum claim," Beckett said.
The attorney said he is expecting a decision on de Bastos's asylum case by next month.