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Childrens’ Center Bars Avenatti from Seeing Immigrant Clients, Then Lets Him in After Press Coverage

Michael Avenatti Michael Cohen Keith Davidson

Michael Avenatti has made it known that he is representing children who have been separated from their families due to the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy on illegal border crossing. As part of this work, he paid a visit to a center in Manhattan where two of his clients were placed after their parents were charged.

Things got ugly.

Avenatti said that when he and his co-counsel Ricardo de Anda showed up at the Cayuga Center in East Harlem, center staff refused to let them see the kids. According to local WPIX, NYPD officers even escorted them out.

It didn’t last long. Soon after this happened, Avenatti tweeted about it. He also held a press conference outside the building, calling out the Trump administration for their handling of children who have been taken from their parents.

“This administration not only stole these children from these immigrants … but they then proceeded to lose them because they had no plan,” Avenatti said.

Not long after drawing attention to the matter, Avenatti announced that the Cayuga Center reversed course, and that they were now going to let him see the children.

Law&Crime reached out to Avenatti for additional details of what happened, but he did not immediately respond.

Avenatti’s clients are 9-year-old Cecia and 5-year-old Serli, who entered the United States with their pregnant mother after fleeing Honduras, according to They were caught at the U.S.-Mexico border and sent to the Cayuga Center while their mother was detained. Their father, Hector Tejeda Santos, is in Texas with his oldest daughter, and is waiting for a decision on his asylum case. He had instructed the rest of his family to meet him in the United States.

“This is not acceptable,” Avenatti said Wednesday. “This is not our America. For months now, this cruel and unusual president has been holding children hostage in the name of politics.” The attorney has been extremely critical of President Trump, who is the target of multiple lawsuits he has filed on behalf of adult film star Stormy Daniels.

[Image via Mario Tama/Getty Images]

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