Last month President Biden signed an executive order creating a task force that aims to find separated children and reunited them in the United States or the country of origin. Michelle Brané has been selected to head up this new task force, she previously worked with the Women’s Refugee Commission. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said at a White House press briefing, “We hope to be in a position to give them the election and, if in fact, they seek to reunite here in the U.S., we will explore lawful pathways for them to remain in the United States — and to address the family needs, so we are acting as restoratively as possible.”
This is a significant change from the way the Trump Administration’s handling of families who arrived at the U.S. souther border, with over 5,500 children separated from their parents. Mayorkas said 105 families have been reunited so far. The government has had trouble finding all of the separated children as there appears to be no central database of where each child was sent in the U.S. and where each child’s parents were sent. Most parents were either sent to a processing camp in Mexico, or back to their home country, but even that has proven to be a less than ideal set of records.
Mayorkas made clear that the Biden Administration will not handle immigrants the same way the Trump Administration did but did caution that while they will eventually allow immigrants to live in the U.S. while they process their immigration case, it takes time to unwind the current policy that the Trump Administration created. “We are not saying: ‘Don’t come.’ We are saying: ‘Don’t come now,’ said Mayorkas.