Separated from parents at southern border, two children arrive in Minnesota

Out of the more than 2,000 children who have been separated from their parents by immigration authorities at the southern border of the United States, at least two have come to Minnesota and more are likely on their way, according to the International Institute of Minnesota. 

The organization is one of two refugee advocacy groups involved in the cases of a seven-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy who arrived here about two months ago from Guatemala.

"This is very new work for us," said Jane Graupman, the executive director of IIM. "We’re usually reunifying families--that’s a lot of the work that we do--so this is a very unusual circumstance that we’ve never had to work with before."

The young girl is set to live with a relative in Minnesota for the time being, but the organization is not releasing any more information due to privacy concerns. 

Graupman says dozens more children may be transported to Minnesota as a result of the Trump Administration's zero-tolerance policy toward migrants who cross the United States border. Despite the fact that Trump announced an end to the policy of separating children from their families more than a week ago, it's still unclear when many of those children might be reunited with their parents.

Shelters to accommodate children affected by the issue have been established in cities like New York and Chicago, with places like Minneapolis and St. Paul next on the list as possible sites for similar enterprises.

In the meantime, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources said it would be opening a task force to begin reuniting families.