Last Saturday, Perla Morales-Luna and her three daughters were walking down the street in National City, California. They had few cares as they enjoyed the splendid weather and each other’s company. But then, something dramatic happened.
As the footage below shows, all of a sudden, two plainclothes Border Patrol officers grabbed Morales-Luna and separated her from her children. Despite her resistance, she was forced into their truck.
“Get in the car!” an officer shouted. Meanwhile, the daughters stood on a curb, crying. As the truck pulled away, one of the girls yelled, “Mom!”
Sorry – we can not release as this is part of an active investigation.
— CBP San Diego (@CBPSanDiego) March 9, 2018
The footage was uploaded to Facebook by one of the girls’ teachers. By Friday, it had been watched 8.5 million times. Almost immediately, complaints began to pour into the U.S. Customs and Border Protection San Diego. The agency later released a statement, saying Morales-Luna was apprehended because she was in the US illegally. They disclosed no additional information.
NBC 7 reports that following the incident, the National City community supported Morales-Luna and her three daughters, Local council member Alejandra Sotelo-Solis said she felt “sad” and “infuriated” upon hearing the girls’ screams. Sotelo-Solis said, ”What was posted I think really showed the inhumane treatment of that woman being physically ripped from her children and then leaving the minor children here on the street not knowing what to do.”
“This is actually one of our quarters where we have mass transit, so to have something like this go down, in the broad daylight, it really is concerning,” she added. Morales-Luna has been in the country since she was 15-years-old. Before she was apprehended, she was on her way to pay rent. Her lawyer says she has no criminal record.
On Friday, the single mom was turned over to ICE. She is now awaiting a deportation hearing at the Otay Mesa Detention Facility, according to CBP.
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