Honduran Man And Daughter Reunited After Being Separated While Seeking U.S. Asylum Elmer, a Honduran man, and his teenage daughter, Marisol, have been reunited in Wisconsin after being separated 10 months ago when they sought asylum after crossing into the U.S.
NPR logo

Honduran Man And Daughter Reunited After Being Separated While Seeking U.S. Asylum

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/715616193/715616194" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Honduran Man And Daughter Reunited After Being Separated While Seeking U.S. Asylum

Honduran Man And Daughter Reunited After Being Separated While Seeking U.S. Asylum

Honduran Man And Daughter Reunited After Being Separated While Seeking U.S. Asylum

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/715616193/715616194" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Elmer, a Honduran man, and his teenage daughter, Marisol, have been reunited in Wisconsin after being separated 10 months ago when they sought asylum after crossing into the U.S.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

And now an update on another story we're following - last July, we met Elmer, a Honduran man who was separated from his teenage daughter Marisol after crossing into Texas and asking for asylum. He was deported alone. Since then, Elmer, with the help of lawyers and advocates, has been trying to reunite with Marisol in the United States. In March, Elmer handed himself to U.S. authorities again, and he was put in immigrant detention. Reporter James Fredrick now picks up this story.

A note to listeners, NPR is not using their last name or the city in which they live because they fear publicity might jeopardize their asylum case.

MARISOL: (Speaking Spanish).

JAMES FREDRICK, BYLINE: Late last Friday night, Marisol got the news she'd been waiting almost a year for. Her dad was free. It's the next morning, and she's getting ready to head to the airport. She's chatty and smiling as always, curling her long black hair and putting on a little eyeliner. Her 3-year-old cousin chirps in the background. She says she's been thinking about this day all the time.

MARISOL: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: She says, "I don't think you have any idea how much I've thought about this. Sometimes I'd be in school, and I'd get all stressed out wondering where he was, how he was, all that. When he was detained, I was really worried he'd get deported again." She goes to change tops for the third time, nervous but excited for her dad to finally see her again.

Since they were separated, Marisol spent months in a detention center for immigrant teenagers before coming to live with her uncle and aunt in Wisconsin. She was dealing with a new country, a new language, a new school - all while her dad bounced around Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico. But now he's just 30 minutes away at the airport.

Marisol is kind of hesitant when she first walks into the airport, unsure where she should go. And then - she spots him down the hallway. She starts running, then stops, then runs again. Her little cousin tails behind her. Marisol jumps into Elmer's arms, and he spins her around.

ELMER: (Speaking Spanish).

MARISOL: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: "I missed you so much," he whispers to Marisol. "You, too," she responds.

ELMER: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: "We did it," says Elmer. "I can't believe it. I can't believe I'm here."

I expected this to be a tearful reunion, but neither Elmer nor Marisol has shed a tear. They're both laughing and joking and posing for pictures.

ELMER: (Speaking Spanish).

MARISOL: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: "She's gotten taller," says Elmer. "I'm about to be taller than you," she brags.

(LAUGHTER)

FREDRICK: Elmer looks as relaxed as I've ever seen - and happy. And yet even on his happiest day, he knows he still has months or years left fighting his asylum case.

MARISOL: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: Back home, Elmer and Marisol are jumping into all the father-daughter stuff they've missed over the last 10 months.

ELMER: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: It's the mundane daily errands he's most excited for, like dropping Marisol off at school on Monday morning. He asks her some boring dad questions.

ELMER: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: "What classes do you have today?"

MARISOL: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: She says she doesn't have classes today, just tests. What kind of tests? - he asks. Like any good 15-year-old, she responds a little impatiently. I don't know, just some standardized tests.

MARISOL: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: These are the little moments Elmer and Marisol were robbed of for the last year.

ELMER: (Speaking Spanish).

(LAUGHTER)

FREDRICK: "Give me a hug," Elmer says, "and behave in there." Of course, she laughs. And again, like any good 15-year-old, she asks Dad for $10.

ELMER: (Speaking Spanish).

FREDRICK: "Dropping her off at school," he says, "it's wonderful. You'll never know how happy it makes me."

For NPR News, I'm James Fredrick in Wisconsin.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.