Biden review could reveal additional families separated under Trump 'zero tolerance' policy

Biden review could reveal additional families separated under Trump ‘zero tolerance’ policy

Originally Published in The Hill

Rebecca Beitsch - April 7, 2021

The Biden administration is reviewing whether additional families were separated at the southern border under the Trump administration, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official told multiple outletsWednesday.

The administration’s family reunification task force, established in early February, has yet to connect any families, an official acknowledged, and are instead reviewing some 5,600 files to determine if there were other families affected by former President Trump’s "zero tolerance" policy.

According to The Associated Press, the review could yield a small number of additional separations beyond those already known.

The Trump administration separated roughly 2,800 children from their parents under the 2018 policy, with October court documents showing more than 500 were never reunited with their parents.

The policy was ended that same year.

Biden officials said they are focused on collecting and verifying data to assist with their efforts, including requesting information from parents.

The Biden administration announced in March that families separated by the Trump administration would have the option to remain in the U.S.

“We are hoping to reunite the families, either here or in their country of origin. We hope to be in a position to give them the election. And if, in fact they seek to reunite here in the United States, we will explore lawful pathways for them to remain in the United States, and to address the family needs,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said at a press briefing at the time.

“We are acting as restoratively as possible.”

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