OMAHA, Nebraska (CNN) — A Nebraska family says their 2-year-old niece is facing deportation.
The child was separated from her father in Arizona, then shipped alone to New York, where she stayed for months.
She’s finally with family members in Omaha. But the toddler is facing a court battle.
Her father was stopped at the border, so she’s now living with her uncle in Omaha.
Neither the girl nor her uncle is identified for their safety.
“She understands now and plays. She says ‘dad’ and ‘mom,'” her uncle said in Spanish.
In May, the girl’s father was arrested for re-entry of removed alien and is still being held in Arizona. The child was separated from him.
“No goodbyes, just taken out of his arms and that was that,” the child’s attorney Tom Campbell said.
The girl was taken to New York for months before having her immigration case transferred to Omaha so she could stay with family.
Now, the family wants to know why a 2-year-old is in deportation procedures.
“To me, that’s not good because she’s a little girl. If she were 12, 13, 14 she’d be able to understand, but she is a little girl,” her uncle said.
Campbell wants to know how a 2-year-old is supposed to understand what’s happening in court when she can barely talk.
“I wish to be respectful. However, putting a 2-year-old in court to respond to charges when they can’t even speak is barbaric and inhumane,” Campbell said.
Court records indicate her father, who is from Guatemala, told the court he wanted to come back to Nebraska to make a better life for him and his daughter, and that he thought Central Americans could enter the U.S. with children.
“What happens on a national level affects us in Nebraska,” Campbell said. “And as Nebraskans, I hope that we can send a message to our leaders that we are better than this. … This is not who we are.”
Anna’s uncle hopes she can stay and get a good education in the U.S. or that he’ll be allowed to reunite her with her father instead of her being deported without him.
“I try to play her father’s role, but I could never be her father. So, it’s hard,” the uncle said.