The Biden administration has launched a new program which they say is trying to find out and expand pull pull families together again which was separated at the border between America and Mexico under President Donald Trump’s policy of zero tolerance for irregular intersections.
A U.S. federal task force said Monday that the program will find many parents who are in remote Central American communities but whose children are in the United States.
“The Biden administration is taking a new step towards finding and assisting families who were brutally separated at the border under the previous administration,” Interior Minister Alejandro Mayorkas said in a tweet.
The Biden administration is taking a new step towards finding and assisting families who were brutally separated at the border under the previous administration.
– Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (@SecMayorkas) 13 September 2021
The program contains to the web portal This will enable parents to contact the US government to begin the reunification process. The information on the website, as well as in outreach materials, is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
The effort also involves a contract with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to help with the often complicated task of sending migrants sent back to the US.
Since his appointment in January, US President Joe Biden has been trying to reverse some of Trump’s strictest policies restricting immigration to the US. But Biden administration officials said the process was hampered, among other things, by a lack of updated records.
“We realize we can no longer heal these families,” Michelle Brane, executive director of the Family Reunification Task Force, said in an interview with The Associated Press. ‘But we want to do everything in our power to put them on the path to a better life.
The task force has reunited about 50 families since they started work in early February, but there are hundreds of parents – and perhaps between 1,000 and 2,000 – who have been separated from their children and have not been located.
A lack of accurate records from the Trump administration makes it difficult to say with certainty, Brane said.
“It’s a big challenge that absolutely commits us to keeping the meeting together and doing everything in our power to reunite these families,” she said.
The Trump administration thousands separated of migrant parents from their children in 2017 and 2018 because it moved to prosecute people criminally for crossing the southwestern border with Mexico.
Minors, who could not be held in criminal custody with their parents, were transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services. They are then usually sent to live with a sponsor, often a family member or someone else who has a bond with the family.
Amid widespread outrage, Trump issued an executive order halting the practice of divorce in June 2018, days before a federal judge did the same, demanding that divorced families be reunited in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
According to the ACLU, more than 5,500 children have been separated from their families. The task force made an initial estimate of closer to 4,000, but investigated hundreds of other cases.
Most parents are presumably in Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Brazil. They often lack passports and the means to travel to the capital of their own country, let alone return to the US to try to gain access to the border.
Once parents are separated from their children, the US will work with the IOM to help people obtain passports and other documents and return to the US, where they will receive work permits, three-year residency and support services.
Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s immigration rights project, welcomed the extensive efforts of the Biden administration as an ‘important first step’, although he believes migrants should be allowed to stay for more than three years.
“Ultimately, we need to get a permanent legal status of the families in light of what the U.S. government has deliberately done to these families,” Gelernt said.
The ACLU is negotiating with the government to provide compensation to the families as part of settlement talks.