x

Society

US Has Reunited 100 Children Taken from Parents Under Trump

December 23, 2021

WASHINGTON — A Biden administration effort to reunite children and parents who were separated under President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance border policy has made increasing progress as it nears the end of its first year.

The Department of Homeland Security planned Thursday to announce that 100 children, mostly from Central America, are back with their families and about 350 more reunifications are in process after it adopted measures to enhance the program.

“I would have loved to have this happen much more quickly. But we are making progress and I feel like we’re gaining momentum,” said Michelle Brané, executive director of the administration’s Family Reunification Task Force.

President Joe Biden issued an executive order on his first day in office to reunite families that were separated under the Trump administration’s widely condemned practice of forcibly separating families and children at the U.S.-Mexico border to discourage illegal immigration.

The work of the task force has been complicated by a number of factors, including inadequate or missing records on the separated families, the sheer number of cases and the fact that many parents are in remote Central American communities and were unable to track down their children or get to the United States to retrieve them.

In September, the task force had reunited 50 families when the administration announced a partnership to speed up the effort with the International Organization for Migration and the creation of a web portal — Juntos.gov or Together.gov — for parents to contact the U.S. government and work through the reunification process.

About 5,500 children were forcibly removed from their parents under Trump, mostly in 2018, as his administration sought to stop an increase in people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border with criminal prosecutions, even if the migrants were presenting themselves to authorities to seek asylum as permitted under the law.

Amid widespread condemnation, including from Republicans, Trump stopped the practice in June 2018 just days before a judge ordered an end to the program in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Brané said in an interview ahead of Thursday’s announcement that officials believe there are still about 1,150 children whose whereabouts have not been confirmed. The total fluctuates as some cases are resolved with new information and new ones emerge, including some who have reached out through the new web portal.

“Obviously, this is nowhere near the end,” Brane said. “This is just the beginning of this ramp up and hopefully families will see that reunifications are happening and they will feel confident coming forward.”

Parents and children, including some who arrived at U.S. airports this week, are being granted humanitarian parole to reside in the country for a minimum of three years and may pursue permanent status through asylum or another program. They are also receiving counseling services.

Hundreds of families have also filed lawsuits against the federal government.

The Justice Department last week told lawyers representing several groups families that it was withdrawing from settlement negotiations, after eight months of talks, and would defend each case in court.

That came after media reports of a proposed settlement that would include payments of several hundred thousand dollars to each affected person sparked outrage among Biden administration critics in Congress and elsewhere.

RELATED

MINNEAPOLIS — A timeline of key events that began with George Floyd's arrest on May 25, 2020, by four police officers in Minneapolis.

Top Stories

Church

NEW YORK - Some 21 years after it was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States that brought down the Twin Towers in New York City, the new St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church rising in its place is among the most eagerly awaited architectural openings of 2022.

Events

STATEN ISLAND, NY – For yet another year, the community of Holy Trinity-St Nicholas in Staten Island honored couples celebrating 50+ years of marriage with a modest ceremony held at the church immediately following the Divine Liturgy on January 16.

Society

NEW YORK – New research into Greek artifacts looted by the Nazis was highlighted in the New York Times on January 18 as “the topic of the Nazi role in antiquities looting is increasingly drawing attention, in part through the work of scholars who are peeling back the mysteries of what happened to the objects that were excavated or seized eight decades ago.

Video

SNF’s Health Initiative Will Support Child and Adolescent Mental Health

ATHENS - When we think about childhood injuries, we usually think of scratches, a few stitches, maybe even a broken bone.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.