It is a legal odyssey that started in Boston and now brings Jesse Bless to Chicago.
Bless, an attorney, is trying to bring Lidia Karine Souza and her 9-year-old-son Diogo back together.
"At this point we just hope everyone does the right thing and we can leave today," Bless told reporters in Chicago Tuesday. "The child has done nothing wrong, the mother is here lawfully, this is a hostage situation."
Souza came to this country from Brazil and was granted an application for asylum, but still Diogo was taken from her.
"When they were split near the border, after she was determined to have a valid claim for asylum, they took the child unbeknownst to her to Chicago," Bless said.
So the boy waits at the Heartland Alliance in Chicago. Their only connection in more than three weeks is an occasional phone call.
Now Souza is filing a federal lawsuit to bring Diogo back to Boston where she is staying with relatives.
"They are making it up as they go along, unfortunately, but the people at the low levels, the career people, want to help," Bless said. "I have said this before. Everybody at the local level wants to do the right thing--and for some reason--I cannot book a flight home."
Bless blames the problem on the Trump administration’s still evolving zero tolerance policy toward illegal immigration.
"Zero tolerance, zero thought, zero planning, zero care," he said. "This point should be driven home: if she came today, none of this would have happened, because they changed the policy again yesterday."