US authorities will reunite 29 migrant families separated during Trump era, but hundreds of children remain in limbo

Hundreds of migrant children still remain apart from their parents in the United States, as the Department of Homeland Security commits to reunifying 29 migrant families.

US authorities will reunite 29 migrant families, but hundreds of children remain torn apart from their parents.

US authorities will reunite 29 migrant families, but hundreds of children remain torn apart from their parents. Source: AFP

US authorities are poised to reunite 29 migrant families separated under the "zero tolerance" policy of the Trump administration, but hundreds of children still remain apart from their parents.

"The Department of Homeland Security is committed to the relentless pursuit of reunifying families who were cruelly separated by the previous administration," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.

"When we reunified the first seven families last month, I said that this was just the beginning... in the coming weeks, we will reunify 29 more families," said Mr Mayorkas, who chairs a task force on family reunification. 

The Department of Homeland Security said the task force has identified 3,913 children who were separated from their families at the US-Mexico border between 1 July 2017 and 20 January 2021.

A reinforced section of the US-Mexico border fencing in eastern Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico on 20 January, 2021.
Source: AFP

It said there are 2,127 children "for whom the Task Force does not have a confirmed record of reunification."

The Task Force expects that the pace (of reunifications) will increase as procedures fall into place.

Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Representative Zoe Lofgren welcomed the task force report but said greater efforts are needed.

"This initial report released today by the Task Force makes it clear that important strides are being made to mitigate the immeasurable harm that resulted from the Trump Administration's cruel family separation policy," they said.

"However, much more must be done to ensure that every child is swiftly reunited with their parent or legal guardian in the United States."

US President Joe Biden pledged before taking office to implement a more "humane" immigration policy and reverse the tough stance taken towards undocumented immigrants by his predecessor.

US Vice President Kamala Harris has been tasked with leading efforts on the issue and is currently visiting Mexico after a trip to Guatemala on Monday.

Detentions of undocumented travellers along the US-Mexico border, including unaccompanied minors, hit a 15-year high in April.

Nearly 180,000 people were intercepted - more than 80 per cent of them coming from Mexico or the so-called Northern Triangle of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Published 9 June 2021 at 7:02am
Source: AFP - SBS