‘Don’t rip us apart’: Father deported to El Salvador without his 6-year-old daughter

He hasn't seen his daughter in 26 days.

Over 2,500 migrant children have been torn from their parents after crossing the U.S. border, and the Trump administration has no clear plan as to how — or even if — these families will be reunited.

Now, parents are being deported back to their home countries, while their children remain behind in the United States.

Richard Engel, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent, was reporting in El Salvador when a bus arrived carrying approximately 100 people deported from the U.S. for trying to enter the country without authorization. There wasn’t a single child on board the bus.

Arnovis Guidos Portillo said he arrived in the U.S. with his six-year-old daughter Meybelin almost one month ago. When they were arrested in Texas, border agents told Guidos that they had to board different busses because of overcrowding. He hasn’t seen her since.

“It has been 26 days since I have seen or heard from her,” Guidos told Engel.

At the detention center in Texas, Guidos asked officials where Meybelin was.

“The border patrol agent told me they did not know anything about her and it was not their problem,” he said.

Guidos isn’t the only parent having difficultly locating the child the U.S. government ripped from his care. Though Trump signed an executive order this week to end the family separation, officials say that only roughly 500 of the more than 2,500 migrant children have been reunited with a parent or guardian.


The trip Guidos took from El Salvador to the United States was dangerous, but he did it so that his daughter would have a better future. Now, he’s facing the possibility of a future without her.

“They don’t know what it is like in El Salvador. They don’t know how bad the violence is here. They say we are like a plague but that’s not true,” said Guidos, whose story was also the subject of an article Sunday in The Washington Post.

“Don’t separate us. Don’t let us in, but don’t rip us apart.”

This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Guidos’ name, and that of his daughter Meybelin.