Biden Administration Begins Reuniting Families Separated At Mexico Border
By Jason Hall
May 3, 2021
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told ABC News the scheduled reunion is "just the beginning" of a broader effort by the Biden administration.
Mayorkas confirmed that two of the four families include mothers -- one Honduran and one Mexican -- who were separated from their children in late 2017, but declined to provide other details about their identities.
He described some of the children separated as ranging from 3 years old to "teenagers who have had to live without their parent during their most formative years," ABC News reports.
Michelle Brane, executive director of the administration's Family Reunification Task Force, told ABC News the parents involved in the reunion will return to the U.S. on humanitarian parole while authorities consider other longer-term forms of legal status, while the children are already in the United States.
Mayorkas didn't confirm the exact number of families that will reunite in the U.S. or what order is linked to negotiations with the American Civil Liberties Union to settle a lawsuit in San Diego, but did told reporters he expects more to come "in the weeks and months ahead."
“We continue to work tirelessly to reunite many more children with their parents in the weeks and months ahead,” Mayorkas said via ABC News. "We have a lot of work still to do, but I am proud of the progress we have made and the reunifications that we have helped to achieve this week.”
More than 5,000 children were separated from their parents during the Trump administration dating back to July 1, 2017, many of which were part of a "zero-tolerance" policy to criminally prosecute any adult who entered the United States illegally, according to court filings obtained by ABC News.
Brane said the Biden administration is attempting to do its own count going back to former President Trump's January 2017 inauguration, which she believes totals more than 1,000 families who remain separated.
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