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In May, Maria Antonia Larios Soto began the trek from Guatemala to the U.S.-Mexico border with her then-6-year-old son, Wilson. They arrived at the border in late May and just after crossing were apprehended by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent. Larios Soto soon learned that she would be separated from her son for an indefinite period of time under President Donald Trump’s new family separation policy.

Wilson should have been taken to a licensed shelter with beds and showers. Instead, he was taken to an unfurnished, unlicensed office building by a private contractor, MVM Inc., a company that has received contracts worth up to $225 million from the federal government since 2014 for transporting immigrant children. The office had no bedrooms, kitchen, showers or outdoor play area. Children of all ages were kept together. Wilson stayed at an office for two nights, sleeping on the floor next to strangers.

In this PBS NewsHour segment – based on an investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting – reporter Aura Bogado gains a rare glimpse into these lucrative private contractors’ operations through the memory of a young boy.

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Aura Bogado is a senior reporter and producer at Reveal and a 2022 Andrew Carnegie Fellow. Her impact-driven work covers immigration, with a focus on migrant children in federal custody. She's earned an Edward R. Murrow Award, a Hillman Prize and an Investigative Reporters & Editors FOI Award, and she was a finalist for a National Magazine Award and an Emmy nominee. Bogado was a 2021 data fellow at the Center for Health Journalism at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. She was previously a staff writer at Grist, where she wrote about the intersection of race and the environment, and also worked for Colorlines and The Nation.

Rachel de Leon is a reporter and producer for TV and documentaries for Reveal. De Leon has worked in video for more than 10 years as a videographer and producer. Throughout 2017, she was the coordinating producer for Glassbreaker Films – an initiative from The Center for Investigative Reporting to support female filmmakers – helping to produce five half-hour documentaries for national and festival distribution, and more than 20 online minidocumentaries. In 2016, she won two Emmys for her work on the web series "The Dead Unknown" and the PBS NewsHour segment "Deadly Oil Fields." In 2014, she completed her first short documentary, “Cab City,” for her master’s thesis in the documentary program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. De Leon is based in Reveal’s Emeryville, California, office.