Exclusive from ‘The Weekly,’ a New TV Series from The New York Times
The youngest known child taken from his parents at the U.S.-Mexico border was a 4-month-old baby named Constantin Mutu. While he was sent to Michigan to live with a foster family, his father was sent to a detention facility and ultimately deported to Romania, uncertain when he would see his son again.
Caitlin Dickerson, an immigration correspondent for The Times, found Constantin, one of thousands of children separated under the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” border policy. In the latest episode of “The Weekly,” she reveals how he spent five tumultuous months away from those who loved him most.
Episode 3: ‘Baby Constantin’
Producer/Director: Sweta Vohra
Caitlin Dickerson is a Peabody award-winning national immigration reporter, who profiles the lives of immigrants, including those without legal status. Last year, Caitlin reported that the Trump administration was separating hundreds of migrant children from their parents. Weeks later, the administration acknowledged what was happening, calling it a “zero-tolerance policy.” She can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @itscaitlinhd
Constantin’s parents, Vasile and Florentina Mutu, left their home in Romania with two of their five children in early 2018 for Mexico, with plans to seek asylum in the United States.
They lost each other in Mexico. After U.S. border agents apprehended Vasile and baby Constantin in Texas, his wife and their 4-year-old son returned to Romania from Mexico.
Vasile, who had a criminal record, said he was pressed to drop his request for asylum.
Constantin was one of thousands of children separated from their families at the border under the administration’s immigration policy. As President Trump bowed to pressure and signed an executive order halting separations, a judge acceded to a lawsuit seeking to reunite families, paving the way for Constantin’s return to Romania.
Caitlin tracked Constantin’s case for “The Weekly,” going to Michigan to visit with the family charged with caring for Constantin, and traveling to Romania to see the Mutus.
Follow Caitlin’s reporting on immigration policies for The Times.
Last year, Caitlin helped to uncover one of the Trump administration’s most contentious border policies. New data reviewed by The Times showed that more than 700 migrant children had been taken from adults claiming to be their parents at the border since October. Before then, officials declined to give data on how many families were separated, but suggested that the number was relatively low.
On “The Daily,” Caitlin said, “President Trump is going to continue full steam ahead to achieve his immigration goals and that if there are people, even informed career officials, who want to stand in the way of that, they’re going to be pushed out. …”Join the conversation about The Times’s new TV show on FX and Hulu with @theweekly on Twitter and Instagram. #TheWeeklyNYT
Director of Photography: Andreas Burgess
Video Editor: Pierre Takal
Senior Story Editors: Dan Barry, Liz Day, Liz Baylen
Associate Producer: Madeline Rosenberg