Friday, August 19, 2022

Biden Administration Task Force Reunites 400 Families That Were Separated Under Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” Policy

According to The Biden Administration’s Family Reunification Task Force, about 400 children separated from their parents after crossing the border under the Trump Administration have been reunited with their families.

More than 5,000 families were separated in 2018 under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy. Immigration advocates estimate that over 1,000 families remain separated. However, since the Trump administration did not keep records of which children were separated and where they were located, the task force and lawyers working on behalf of separated families have difficulty identifying and reunifying families.

In most cases, the parents were deported while the children remained in the U.S. Now, parents have been allowed to come to the U.S. on paid travel, bring other members of their family who are dependent on them, and live and work in the U.S. legally for three years.

Lawyers for the families have advocated for legal permanent status on behalf of separated families, but the Biden Administration has yet to agree to that measure.

The reunification process also includes mental health services for families before and after reunification. Many families have suffered from severe mental health issues from their separation, and counseling is often needed before they reunify.

“We are thrilled for the hundreds of children who will finally be with their parents after all these years, but we are not even halfway through reuniting all the families that remain separated by the Trump administration. And indeed, we still haven’t located nearly 200 families. I think the Biden administration would agree that there’s a lot of work yet to be done,” said Lee Gelernt, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) representing the separated families in a class action lawsuit.

NBC News

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