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Border separation policy hits close to home for Nevada families

Posted: 6:20 PM, Jun 19, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-20 16:34:48Z

The policy of separating families at the border is hitting close to home for some families in the Las Vegas valley.

Aurora Aguilar says for the past 8 years, she's had to raise her two daughters on her own while her husband Enrique is stuck in Mexico.

Aguilar and her United States-born children are citizens, but Enrique is not. She says after a trip home to Mexico, he could not legally re-enter the United States for a 10-year period. This was due to a federal policy adopted in 1997.

Instead of risking another illegal entry, they're deciding the follow the ban, hoping that they can petition for Enrique's return again in 2020.

In the meantime, it's been hard on the family. "It's a struggle sometimes," Aguilar says. She says while they talk several times a day, he's missed quinceaneras, graduations, and Father's Days.

Aguilar says at least her daughters still have her. She says she can't fathom what's happening at the border. "To me, that's like kidnapping," she says. "These parents don't know if their kids are eating, sleeping or where they are."

According to the American Immigration Council, around 1 in 7 children in Nevada have at least one undocumented family member.

In terms of the situation at the border, Gov. Brian Sandoval tells 13 Action News he opposes the Trump administration policy, and also says he has no plans to use Nevada's National Guard troops at the border, saying "their mission directly states they will not be used for any civilian law enforcement activities."

Meanwhile, both of Nevada's senators, Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, and Republican Dean Heller have come out against the policy, with Heller signing a letter with 11 other Senate GOP members urging Attorney General Sessions to stop the policy of separation until Congress can find a solution to keep families together.