Biden administration to begin reunifying families separated by Trump 'zero tolerance' policy

Biden administration to begin reunifying families separated by Trump ‘zero tolerance’ policy

Originally Published in USA Today

Rebecca Morin - May 3, 2021

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden's administration this week will begin reuniting children and parents who were separated by President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" policy, the Department of Homeland Security announced Sunday evening.

“The Family Reunification Task Force has been working day and night, across the federal government and with counsel for the families and our foreign partners, to address the prior administration’s cruel separation of children from their parents,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “Today is just the beginning. We are reuniting the first group of families, many more will follow, and we recognize the importance of providing these families with the stability and resources they need to heal.”

Four families are expected to be reunited this week, Mayorkas said during an interview with "CBS This Morning" on Monday.

Biden announced the creation of the Reunification of Families Task Force in February.

Under Trump's "zero tolerance" policy, thousands of families who were coming to the U.S.-Mexican border were separated in an effort to mitigate migration. Trump's administration received harsh criticism for the policy and rescinded it in June 2018; however, there were still cases of families being separated.

An update on the task force's full progress will be released in a report June 2, DHS said.

Mayorkas said hundreds of families need to be reunited. He noted the children and parents who are being reunited were found through the work of multiple government departments, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented many of the families separated under Trump's policy.

"We have hundreds of families left, and we will reunite them all," Mayorkas told CBS Monday.

Reach Rebecca Morin at Twitter @RebeccaMorin_

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