Washington.- The US will begin to reunite migrant children with their parents this week, separated during the government of Donald Trump (2017-2021) after entering illegally through the southern border, announced Monday the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas .
“Today is just the beginning. We are bringing together the first group of families, many more will come and we recognize the importance of giving these families the stability and resources they need to heal,” Mayorkas said in a statement.
Most of the minors separated from their families are of Central American origin; Thousands were housed in federal shelters guarded by border agents and others were sent to foster families, but the Trump administration admitted last year that the whereabouts of hundreds of minors were not known.
Mayorkas explained that the Family Reunification Task Force took over the situation together with the federal government and the families’ lawyers, as well as foreign authorities, “to address the cruel separation of children from their parents by the previous administration. “.
The task force, created in February and chaired by Mayorkas, has been working to establish a database of divided families since spring 2018, when the measure began to be implemented, in order to find all the people who They were separated from a loved one and given the opportunity to reunite.
“The initial report of the Task Force is due June 2, 2021 and will provide a full update on the progress of the Task Force (…) The Task Force has made critical progress in a short period of time, which resulted in reunifications beginning this week and more in the coming weeks, “the Department of Homeland Security said in the statement.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in early April that the task force had identified and was reviewing 5,600 files on asylum-seeking migrants that may have been separated during the Trump administration.
President Joe Biden has consistently criticized the previous administration’s hardline immigration policies, especially the controversial “zero tolerance” policy, under which federal authorities separated children from their families after they illegally crossed the border from Mexico.
The parents were sent to federal detention centers to await their court hearings while their children remained in shelters operated by the Department of Health and Human Services, where, according to reports by activists, they were not being provided adequate care.
The policy was halted after massive criticism and legal defeats, but hundreds of migrant children are reportedly still separated from their families.