WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden’s administration this week will begin reuniting children and parents who were separated by former 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 Sunday evening. “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 first announced the creation of the Reunification of Families Task Force in February.
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Under Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy, thousands of families who were coming to the U.S.-Mexico border were separated in an effort to mitigate migration. Trump’s administration received harsh criticisms for the policy and rescinded it in June 2018. However, there were still cases of some families being separated despite the policy change.
An update on the task force’s full progress will be released in a report on June 2, DHS said.
Mayorkas said that there are still hundreds of families that 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 American Civil Liberties Union, which has been representing many of the families that were 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_