Two sisters from Colombia who traveled to Massachusetts to visit their mother and stepfather were sent back to their home country Friday after being detained at a Boston airport earlier this week.
A lawyer for Laura and Dayana Gomez told NBC Boston Friday that the two girls have been sent back to Colombia. No reason has been given.
The two sisters had flown from Colombia into Boston's Logan International Airport Wednesday night and were detained by Customs and Border Protection agents and questioned upon their arrival.
The girls' mother, who lives in Lowell, said Thursday that she was extremely worried, and not just because of the lengthy detainment. Laura, who is only 11 years old, was hospitalized Thursday morning with severe stomach pains and then brought back to the airport where questioning continued.
"The detention of this eleven-year-old, who was not healthy, is the perfect example of how this administration's policy of inspecting everyone in search or reasons for deportation can go terribly wrong," immigration attorney Heather Yountz said.
Yountz said she's never seen anything like this case. She said the sisters, who are dual citizens of Colombia and Spain, have valid Spanish passports and had return tickets. She believed U.S. Customs and Border Protection might have been concerned that the girls would stay in the States with their mother and not go back home. Laura and her 20-year-old sister Dayana are both applying to become U.S. citizens.
"Alternative practices were available, and they should have been used," she said. "Deferred inspection, a process by which an individual can be paroled into the United States and allowed to return a few days later for questioning, would have made much more sense given this little girl's age and health situation."
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection told NBC Boston it could not comment on a specific case because of privacy laws.
The agency did release a statement that reads in part, "It is important to note that issuance of a visa or a visa waiver does not guarantee entry to the United States. A CBP officer at the port of entry will conduct an inspection to determine if the individual is eligible for admission under U.S. immigration law."