“He didn’t recognize me,” said Mirce Alba Lopez, 31, of her 3-year-old son, Ederson, her eyes welling up with tears. “My joy turned temporarily to sadness.”

For Milka Pablo, 35, it was no different. Her 3-year-old daughter, Darly, screamed and tried to wiggle free from her mother’s embrace.

“I want Miss. I want Miss,” Darly cried, calling for the social worker at the shelter where she had been living since mother and daughter were separated by federal agents at the southwestern border.