Deported after Trump order, Central Americans grieve for lost children

Two anxious Central American parents describe to Reuters the anguish of being separated from their children after being deported from the United States.

HONDURAS (REUTERS) - Honduran asylum-seeker Melvin Garcia was deported in shackles from the US last week.

Left behind was his 12-year-old daughter Daylin whom US immigration agents had taken.

Now Mr Garcia is one of an uncertain number of parents sent home without their children who are not sure when they will see their kids again.

"They told me I had a 20-year punishment and that I was going to be expelled from the United States and I'd have to wait 20 years to go back, so who knows when I'll be able to see my daughter again," he says.

Despite showing documents proving his lack of criminal record and news clippings about the threat bus drivers face, he says he and his daughter were detained and then separated.

After months of trying to find her, he eventually learned she had been moved from a detention facility to live with her mother in Los Angeles.

Mr Jose Guardado, a 42-year-old farmer, was deported back to Honduras without his 14-year-old son, Nixon, and remains somewhere in US detention.

"If you tell them, 'I want my son to come with me, if you deport me,' they don't care," he says.

US President Donald Trump reversed course on his policy of separating families last week, but the government still had 2,047 children in custody and his administration said reuniting them will not be easy.

Mr Garcia says, "At this moment the border is filled with migrant children that have been separated from their parents and the children cry in the shelters, telling that they want their mom, that they want to be with their mother, with their father."

Before he was deported, Mr Guardado said officials gave him a scrap of paper with a hotline for missing children. But, he said, when he called, no one answered.