Los Angeles, Apr 7 (EFE News) .- The task force appointed by President Joe Biden to reunify separated immigrant families announced Wednesday that it is examining 5,600 files of additional cases of migrant children possibly affected by the policy of “zero tolerance ”of the Government of Donald Trump. (2017-2021).
The announcement came in a conference call with national media in which members of the task force reported the discovery of 5,600 files from the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which they had not been reviewed.
The files pertain to cases ranging from January 20, 2017, the day Trump took office, to July of that year.
An official from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), quoted by National Public Radio (NPR), who spoke with journalists on condition of anonymity, explained that “we have begun a process to review and collate these files.”
“This is a manual process, which reviews each file for clues. And it is our hope and expectation that only a few additional families will be found in this process. But it is important to review and make sure,” he added.
Biden signed an executive order in early February that created the task force with the goal of reuniting with their parents the hundreds of minors who were separated after crossing the border as a result of Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, and who are still in HHS custody.
Since the creation of the group, it was announced that it will work with allies in Central America to find the parents, a task that will be difficult because the Government did not keep records on these families.
Since the family separations began in 2017, more than 5,500 children have been separated and, as of last December, 628 children had not yet been reunited with their parents, according to court documents.
The dates of the new files of the affected minors were not included in the lawsuit of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which managed to stop the application of the policy.
A June 2018 ruling halted the application of that policy and a month later the HHS identified, according to a report released by a congressional committee in October last year, “2,551 separated children covered by the court order.”
By August of that year, 2,000 of the nearly 2,600 children identified had been reunited with their parents, but not about 600 children whose reunification was complicated because their parents had been sent back to their countries of origin.