Wednesday, January 26, 2022

US reunites 100 children taken from parents under Trump’s leadership

The Biden administration’s effort to reunite children and parents separated under President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance border policy has made increasing progress as it nears the end of its first year.

The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday that 100 children, mostly from Central America, were back with their families and that about 350 more were in the reunification process after steps were taken to expand the program.

“I would have liked to have done it more quickly. But we are making progress and I think we are gaining momentum,” said Michelle Brane, executive director of the administration’s Family Reunification Task Force.

On his first day in office, President Joe Biden reunited families separated as part of the Trump administration’s widely condemned practice of forcibly separating parents and children at the US-Mexico border to discourage illegal immigration. An executive order was issued to add

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Meyercas thanked community organizations for helping to locate and contact family members, announcing the program’s milestone on Twitter. “We have a lot more work to do,” he wrote. “We are dedicated to finding every family and giving them a chance to be reunited and recover.”

face obstacles

The task force’s work has been complicated by a number of factors, including inadequate or missing records and the number of cases on individual families. In addition, many parents are in remote Central American communities and are unable to travel to the United States to locate or retrieve their children.

In September, the task force reunited 50 families when the administration announced a partnership with the International Organization for Migration to accelerate the effort. A web portal — Juntos.gov or Together.gov — was created so that parents could contact the US government and work through the reunification process.

FILE – Migrant families walk along the Rio Grande, the river separating the United States and Mexico, on March 14, 2019, near McAllen, Texas. The Department of Homeland Security said on December 23, 2021 that 100 children were separated from parents during the Trump administration. had met their families.

About 5,500 children were forcibly removed from their parents under Trump, mostly in 2018. To stem the increase in people crossing the US-Mexico border, his administration pursued criminal prosecution, even if migrants were presenting themselves to authorities seeking asylum. permitted under the law.

Amid widespread condemnation, including from Republicans, Trump halted the practice in June 2018 in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, days before a judge ordered the program to end.

whereabouts unknown

Brane said in an interview ahead of Thursday’s announcement that officials believe there are still about 1,150 children whose whereabouts have not been confirmed. The total fluctuates as some cases are settled with new information and new ones emerge, including some that have been accessed through new web portals.

“Obviously, it’s nowhere near the end,” Brane said. “This is the beginning of this ramp-up, and hopefully, the families will see that the reunion is happening, and they will feel confident coming forward.”

Reunited parents and children, including some arriving at US airports this week, are being granted humanitarian parole to stay in the country for at least three years, and seek permanent status through asylum or some other program. can follow. They are also getting counseling services.

Hundreds of families have also sued the federal government.

The Justice Department told lawyers representing several groups of families last week that it was withdrawing from settlement talks after eight months of talks, and would defend each case in court.

It came after media reports of a proposed settlement that would include a payment of several million dollars to each affected person sparked outrage from critics of the Biden administration in Congress and elsewhere.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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