Immigrants and refugees, who have been feeling abandoned by the United States during the former president Donald Trump, are receiving good news one after another since President Joe Biden joined office.
Two weeks ago, the Biden administration, in its quest to expand its efforts to facilitate migrants, announced a new program for finding and reuniting migrant families separated at the US-Mexico border under Trump’s zero-tolerance policy on illegal crossings.
Under this program, officials of the Federal Family Reunification Task Force will expand efforts to find members of the separated families and bring them to the US. The majority of these people were parents who were separated from their children and now residing in remote Central American communities. These migrants who were denied entry to the US will now be granted legal residency of at least years in the US along with other assistance.
While announcing this program, Michelle Brané, executive director of the federal task force said, “We recognize that we can’t make these families completely whole again. But we want to do everything we can to put them on a path towards a better life.”
As part of this family reunification program, a contract will be concluded with the International Organization for Migration to locate expelled migrants and bring them back to the US. Though it is nearly impossible to find these migrants, the Biden administration seems to be committed as demonstrated in its agreement with the International Organization for Migration.
Among other immigration reforms initiated by President Biden during his recently started tenure, this step is of great importance as it aims at reversing a foolish and cruel policy implemented by the former president. Biden seems to be rectifying every single mistake America made during the past five years and drew widespread condemnation.
Since February, the Family Reunification Task Force has reunited as many as 50 families. However, the night is long as the officials do not know the whereabouts of more than 2,000 parents, who were separated from their children during the Trump era. Since the Trump administration’s records are incomplete, it is hard to state definitively that these parents would ever be found. As in the words of the executive director of this program, “It is a huge challenge that we are absolutely committed to following through to meet and to do whatever we can to reunify these families.”
It is pertinent to mention here that in 2017 and 2018, the Trump administration had started to criminally prosecute people for crossing the southwest border. Resultantly, thousands of migrant parents were separated from their children. It was decided not to hold minors in criminal custody with their parents, but transfer them to the Department of Health and Human Services, and then send them to live with a sponsor.
This move of Trump was widely condemned. As a result of massive public outrage, Trump was forced to issue an executive order in June 2018 to put an end to this practice of separating families. Days after this development, a federal court had ordered the reunification of the separated families. According to the official record, above 5,500 children were taken away from their parents, while the task force could get the data of just 4,000 of them.