Over 5,500 families have been separated under the Trump administration zero tolerance policy. In addition, more than 1,000 children have not been reunited with their parents. President Joe Biden has created a Family Reunification Taskforce to reunite them.
This week, the Biden administration reunited four separated families . These families were some of the thousands that were separated by former President Donald Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy. The policy’s goal was to deter illegal immigration. Bryan was separated from his family when he was only 15 years of age. His mother, Sandra Ortiz, was apprehended at the Mexican border almost four years ago. Bryan was placed in a government facility before moving in with older siblings in California. “It feels like a dream. I was in the car – like this is finally happening. I’m really going to be reunified with her after all this time,” said Bryan.
The executive director of the Biden administration’s Family Reunification Taskforce, Michelle Brané, has said that they are working on a process where “immediate family members can also apply.” “That includes siblings, another, you know, the partner or spouse, other parents if they’re in the picture,” she said. “So we arranged for that. Once we approve those applications, we will facilitate travel arrangements.” Furthermore, they will potentially give the parents a “longer-term status” so that they can live and work in the U.S.
However, advocates face difficulties in searching for some families who were torn away from one another at the borders. Brané discussed the challenges her group faced when uncovering separations that were unknown to the government due to poorly kept records. However, increasing numbers of parents are coming forward and were ready to return on Day One of the Biden Presidency. Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas said, “We are continuing to identify families that were intentionally separated under the prior administration.”