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She raised her niece like a daughter. Then the US government separated them at the border

Children who arrive at the border without a parent or legal guardian – even if they come with an adult relative – are considered “unaccompanied” and are sent to child shelters, according to a US Customs and Border Protection spokesperson.

But some advocates say the government should broaden its definition of legal guardian to include longstanding adult caregivers. Michelle Brané, director of migrant rights and justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission, is disappointed the government has so far refused to take that step. “Because really the whole point of all of this is to do what’s in the best interests of the child,” Brané says.