Another Toddler Reunited With Mom After Being Held At The Border
Sindy Ortiz Flores, 23, waited anxiously at San Francisco International Airport's Terminal 1 on Tuesday night, her gaze fixed on the stream of arriving passengers. Then Ortiz let out a sigh -- she had spotted her 18-month-old daughter, Grethshell Juliet.
As a woman carrying Grethshell from the plane handed her to her mother, the little girl began to wail. Ortiz also burst into tears, clutching her baby tight for the first time in more than a month.
U.S. Border Patrol agents took Grethshell from her father, Kevin Ventura Corrales, on Dec. 28, after arresting him and the baby near Calexico. The government moved to prosecute Ventura for illegally re-entering the United States. Grethshell was turned over to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement, which placed her in a shelter in Texas.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Ventura was charged with illegal re-entry into the U.S., a felony with potential jail time if convicted, and had been previously removed from the country four times.
Ventura also had a previous misdemeanor for which he served less than a year in jail, said Assistant Chief Patrol Agent David Kim of the Border Patrol's El Centro sector.
Kim and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials did not further explain how Ventura was unfit or posed a danger to his child, the standard which would justify their separation under U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw's order.
Eric Fish, an attorney with Federal Defenders of San Diego, who represented Ventura in federal court, said the charge of illegal re-entry has been dropped.