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Challenges faced by migrant families Trump split and Biden reunited

The Media Must Stop Demonizing Immigrants

Magazine, Immigration

Former US president, Donald Trump, who was notorious for his anti-immigration mindset, separated more than 4,000 children from their parents at the border during his time in the office. When the news hit the international media, a massive outrage was sparked all across the world which forced the Trump administration to reunite some of the separated families. 

When Democrat Joe Biden held the office of the US presidency, he pledged to help reunite the migrant families who were forcefully split up by the Republican Trump at the US-Mexico border. He, during his second week in office,  formed a special task force to locate and reunite the migrant families who were broken up during the Trump administration. 

The task force has so far reunited a total of 200 migrant families. However, as many as 1,000 children are still not with their parents and the Biden administration says it’s working to reunite these families. According to a DHS spokesperson, out of these  1,000 children, “the Task Force has contacted over 500 parents and nearly 400 children are now in the reunification process. We anticipate these families being reunified and making contact with additional families in the coming months.”

However, more than 75 percent of those who were reunited so far are struggling with unemployment, lack of medical facilities, and most importantly housing insecurity, according to Together & Free and Seneca Family of Agencies – groups that aid separated migrant families. 

The parents who were recently brought back to the US by the Task Force in order to reunite them with their children, have to start work immediately to make their ends meet. They did not even get the time to meet their children. On the other hand, they are suffering from intense trauma developed as a result of the separation and deportation. Although a court ruling has made them eligible for some mental health services, the moment they disembark the plane,  health assistance to them stops immediately. 

The story of a Honduran woman, who was recently reunited with her two young daughters taken from her by the US immigration agents at the border in 2017, can be taken as a typical case to understand what challenges the newly reunited migrant families face.  

She is living with her children in a windowless homeless shelter. From here, her children have to travel for two-hour by bus to reach their schools. She does hard and odd jobs while his adult son sells oranges on his truck.  

She told an international news agency that the places she can afford are for only one person or a couple, while they are four and the landlords hesitate to accept them as tenants. Her stay at the homeless shelter is limited to 90 days. Advocacy groups are trying to help but she is increasingly worried as the time passes. 


The Biden administration’s efforts to reunite separated families are commendable but more efforts are needed from the government side to facilitate them. Besides the housing, unemployment, and medical issues, the government also needs to redress the trauma inflicted upon the reunited families by the government. For the housing issue, the government can work with the private sector to arrange funding and other resources needed to accommodate the reunited families. 

Also, the Republicans are needed to play a more human and sympathetic role in this regard as they had been outraged over Biden’s decision to consider payouts of $450,000 to each separated family. Moreover, the opposition is also expected not to oppose Biden’s $20 million bill for the task force in his budget proposal for the fiscal year 2023 as it would help the force extend its efforts to reunite separated families. 

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