Nearly a thousand immigrant children who were separated from their parents during the Trump administration have not been reunited. The separations took place between Jan. 20, 2017, and Jan 20, 2021, under what was called the “zero-tolerance” policy.
President Biden created a family reunification task force two years ago that identified 3,924 separated children. So far 2,926 kids have been reunified, but 998 are still waiting.
“Today we recognize the dedication of those who have helped reunite these families, and we reaffirm our commitment to work relentlessly to reunite the other families who suffered because of the prior cruel and inhumane policy – a policy that did not reflect the values of our nation,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, 148 children are currently in the reunification process, while 183 families have been informed they have the opportunity. But even as some cases are closed, new ones are being opened as families continue to come forward.
Families can register for reunification at Together.gov or the Spanish site Juntos.gov. They will be connected with the International Organization for Migration which has been contracted by DHS to assist. The organization provides support in applying for humanitarian parole, arranging travel to the United States and accessing behavioral health services.
“The task force continues to coordinate outreach to families who were separated to ensure they are afforded the opportunity to reunite in the United States and receive critically needed behavioral health services to address the trauma they suffered,” Mayorkas stated.
So far, 735 families have been provided with behavioral health case management services and 385 families have received behavioral health assessments and treatment.