The lawyer taking on President Donald Trump over his alleged affair with an adult film star helped reunite a 9-year-old boy with his mother in a Houston immigration court.
Antony Ortiz last saw his mother three months ago when federal agents separated the two at the U.S-Mexico border. Under the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy, Elsa Ortiz Enriquez was sent back to Guatemala without her son.
The young boy celebrated his birthday alone in a federal shelter for immigrant children last week with his mother still in Guatemala fighting to get him back. Government data shows that Antony was just one of the 380 children who were in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ custody due to their parents being deported.
Walking into the courtroom on Tuesday, the young boy looked his age but did not act like it, according to CNN. No sign of a smile or a fidget, he sat still and waited for the verdict.
Within a short 15 minutes, the court translator told Antony that the Immigration Judge Chris Brisack ruled he could “voluntarily depart” the U.S. However, the process could take the government 60 days to arrange.
Michael Avenatti, the famous lawyer representing Antony, was furious. Offering a solution of his own, the lawyer volunteered to escort the young boy back to his mother the same day, at his own expense. The government denied the offer and set a timetable of 60 days or less for Antony’s return to his mother.
Antony began crying realizing he would wait even longer to see his mother once again, but Avenatti was angry at the court, according to reports.
“This is an outrage, and now we have to work through bureaucratic red tape in order to ensure this boy is released at some point, and it could take upwards of 45 to 60 days. It makes no sense,” Avenatti said. “I am offering to take him today, right now.”
Breaking the sad news to Antony’s mom over the phone, she told the lawyer she was nervous waiting to hear the verdict. Upon hearing how long it could be his mother cried, the news channel said.
“I am crying because I cannot do anything. I am not there,” Ortiz Enriquez said in Spanish. “I thought about going back and finding him, but they told me that would complicate things.”
Within an hour, an official called the lawyer confused why the government attorney and court would not let Avenatti take the young boy to his family.
After many conversations and eight hours, Antony boarded a plane with his lawyers to return home to his mother after a long three months. When landing in Guatemala City, his mother fell to her knees and cried, thankful to have her son home.
“It’s such unexpected news. It’s a miracle God’s given me.”