Reuniting Separated Families: Biden Administration Task Force Reconnects Nearly 700 Children with Their Families

Two years ago, the Biden administration created a task force to reunite families separated under the Trump administration’s widely condemned practice of forcibly separating parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border. On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the task force had successfully reconnected nearly 700 children with their families.

The Trump administration separated thousands of migrant parents from their children in an effort to criminally prosecute people for illegally crossing the southwestern border. Hundreds of families have since sued the federal government in response.

In total, 3,881 children were separated from their families from 2017 to 2021. Of those, 2,176 were reunited with their families before the task force was created and 689 were reunited afterward. That still leaves nearly 1,000 children, 148 of whom are in the reunification process.

The Department of Homeland Security has pledged to continue the work until all separated families that can be found have the opportunity to reunite with their children. Families can register for reunification services through a website and can get help with steps such as applying for humanitarian parole that would allow them to come to the U.S., as well as for behavioral health services to help them.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas spoke of the wounds the separations had caused and described meeting the mother of a teenager who had been separated from her mom when she was 13 and then reunited with her when she was 16. He said, “She didn’t understand the force behind the separation.”

The Biden administration’s task force is working hard to reunite families and heal the wounds of the past. We can only hope that all separated families that can be found will have the opportunity to reunite with their children soon.