The Biden administration is expected to reunite four migrant families who were separated under Trump-era policies this week, NBC News reported Monday.
The anticipated reunifications include a child who was separated from their parents at three years old and at least two mothers separated from their children as part of a pilot program for former President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy in 2017, NBC News reported. Thousands of families are likely still separated, the administration’s Family Reunification Task Force estimates.
“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,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who leads the task force, said in a statement.
The Family Reunification Task Force has been working day and night to address the prior administration’s cruel separation of children from their parents. I’m proud to announce we will begin to reunite the first of those families. https://t.co/zNugQ1aFWf pic.twitter.com/7Z6wMie3wi
— Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (@SecMayorkas) May 3, 2021
Immigrant advocacy organization Al Otro Lado (AOL) criticized the Biden administration for taking credit for the reunifications without doing any of the work, NBC News reported. Parents were ready to reunite with their children as soon as possible and the organization brought together around 40 families despite having limited resources, AOL Family Reunification Project Managing Attorney Carol Anne Donohoe said.
“Despite what Secretary Mayorkas would have the public believe, DHS has done nothing to facilitate the return and reunification of these parents this week, other than to agree to allow them in,” Donohoe said, according to NBC News.
“The only reason these mothers will be standing at the port of entry is because Al Otro Lado negotiated their travel visas with the Mexican government, paid for their airline tickets and arranged for reunification,” Donohoe said, NBC News reported. (RELATED: Some Officials Told Illegal Migrants They Were Going To California And Deported Them To Mexican Border Towns Instead)
The Biden administration is issuing humanitarian parole to the parents returning to the U.S. to reunite with their children, according to NBC News. Reunification Task Force Executive Director Michelle Brané said the administration is “looking into longer-term status” for the families so the parents can work and live in the U.S, NBC News reported.
Pro bono attorneys worked to identify and reunify migrant families separated during the Trump administration until Biden’s Family Reunification Task Force was announced in February, NBC News reported.
The Biden administration established the task force through an Executive Order in February to find, reunite and support migrant families separated under Trump, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
The DHS did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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