The child had been held somewhere near Phoenix since being separated from Mejia-Mejia after they crossed the border from Mexico May 19, fleeing domestic abuse in Guatemala and seeking asylum. She filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington this week trying to get him back.
At a hearing Thursday, government lawyers told the judge they were releasing Darwin and putting him on a plane later that day. He arrived at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport shortly after 2 a.m. Friday, wearing a long-sleeved blue shirt and small brown boots with red shoelaces.
“I’m very happy to have found my son,” Mejia-Mejia, 38, told a cluster of news crews that were waiting in the terminal. “Very happy and grateful, with God first. . . . We’re going to be together, and no one can separate us again.”
On Friday, the court granted a motion by attorneys for Mejia-Mejia and the government to deny as moot her motion for a temporary restraining order, and her lawyers said they would notify the court within a week how she plans to proceed with the rest of the case. Mejia-Mejia and Darwin spent the day in the Washington area, out of public view.
They had surrendered to Border Patrol agents after entering the country near San Luis, Ariz. Darwin was taken from his mother two days later.
The lawsuit alleged that the government violated constitutional guarantees of due process and deprived Mejia-Mejia of her child’s “care and custody” when she was separated from him.
She has been staying with a friend in Austin as she awaits the next court hearing on her asylum petition, and is expected to take Darwin there when they leave the D.C. area.
At the airport, Mejia-Mejia described her first hug with the boy in a month as “muy lindo” — very beautiful. She said she had told him she loved him, and he had said nothing.
A reporter asked if the boy had suffered any abuse or mistreatment while he was in government custody. Mejia-Mejia said she didn’t know. But she was going to try to find out in the coming days.