Biden to Begin Efforts to Reunify Migrant Families
~ by Kevin Sieff, Washington Post
The Biden administration on Tuesday announced plans to identify and reunite hundreds of families who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border by the Trump administration and remain apart years later.
Biden will create a new task force to reunite families through an executive order, following a campaign promise to undo some of the damage inflicted by the Trump administration’s most controversial immigration policy. Administration officials did not yet have details on the scale or timing of the reunification effort. They said the task force would make recommendations on how separated parents and children could be brought back together.
The task force will “work across the U.S. government, with key stakeholders and representatives of impacted families, and with partners across the hemisphere to find parents and children separated by the Trump administration,” a senior administration official said.
The Trump administration separated at least 5,500 children from their parents along the border between July 2017 and June 2018 in an attempt to deter migration. The American Civil Liberties Union, which sued the government over the policy, says it’s likely that at least 1,000 of those families remain separated — parents scattered mostly across Central America and children living with relatives in the United States.
“The first order of the task force will be to get a better handle on these numbers and start reuniting children with their parents,” said the senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter before it was formally announced.
Many of those parents, unsure if or when they would ever be together again, have spent the past several years trying to raise their children over video calls. Some returned to the U.S. border in hopes of finding their children but were once again apprehended by immigration agents and deported a second time.
“It’s a daily horror for us who are living without our children. It’s an endless sadness,” said María, a Guatemalan mother who was separated from her 10-year-old daughter on the Arizona-Mexico border in July 2017. “All we want is the opportunity to see our kids, to be with them again.”
Advocates have emphasized the need not only to reunite families, but also to provide them with protection from deportation and a path to citizenship. When a court ordered the Trump administration to reunite families in 2018, many reunited parents were not given any legal status, making them immediately deportable and raising the prospect of re-separation. For full article click here