Biden Announces Creation of Working Group on Migrant Family Reunification

Biden to try to reunite migrant families separated at border

The administration has developed a series of initiatives to make the immigration system fairer and more efficient

President Joe Biden on Tuesday announces the creation of a working group on family reunification, separated on the US-Mexico border during the presidency of Donald Trump.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Friday that the task force will be chaired by Alejandro Mallorcas, who was nominated by Biden for the post of Secretary of Homeland Security but has not yet been approved by the Senate..

One of the most controversial Trump initiatives to curb illegal immigration has been the policy of separating migrants from their children while criminal cases for illegal entry into the country are considered or their biography is clarified. At least 5,500 migrant minors have been separated from their parents, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The separation of families took place mainly in 2017 and 2018, when all those who illegally entered the country were brought to justice. The so-called politics «zero tolerance» was officially announced in April 2018, and in June, after a violent reaction from the world community, Trump scrapped this initiative.

However, immigration lawyers and migrant rights advocates say family separation began even before the policy was officially announced and continued after Trump ordered it to end..

US District Judge Dana Sabrow, who was reviewing the ACLU’s lawsuit in the Southern District of California, ordered the Trump administration to reunite about 4,000 children with their families. But hundreds of parents who were deported without children were prevented from returning to the United States..

In addition, according to the ACLU, about 1,500 children are not included in Sabrow’s decree..

Almost all children affected by this regulation were eventually reunited with their parents or transferred to guardians with parental consent. However, the parents of 611 children have not yet been found. According to ACLU, about 400 of them were deported parents, while the rest can live in the United States..

Biden Announces Migrant Family Reunification Working Group

ACLU conducts research in partnership with other non-profit organizations. A free hotline has been set up for parents looking for their children. Searches are also underway in countries of origin such as Guatemala and Honduras. But the coronavirus pandemic and security concerns have limited the ability to conduct these investigations..

Biden promises to create a working group to reunite the remaining separated families. According to Psaki, First Lady Jill Biden is also involved in this project. Migrant advocates call for support and psychosocial support for separated families, for deported parents to return to the United States, and for those who have suffered from violence a legal way to stay in the country,.

The working group will report regularly to President Biden and plans to work with various government departments, with representatives of separated families, and with «partners across the hemisphere to find parents and children torn apart by the Trump administration», reported in a press release released on Monday. The working group will focus primarily on families separated by policy, officials said. «zero tolerance», but not exclusively by them.

The Biden administration also plans to develop a new strategy to tackle illegal migration across the southern border and create a humane asylum system, according to a White House statement. This includes tackling the root causes of illegal immigration, working with international partners and providing legal pathways for refugees and asylum seekers..

In addition, the administration is committed to restoring confidence in the US immigration system by making it fairer and more efficient. It is also planned to take measures aimed at the integration of immigrants, including through the revival of the working group on «new Americans».