The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday that it will seek suggestions from the public on how to prevent the separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“It is unconscionable to separate children from their parents as a means to deter migration,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “I have met with separated families and heard firsthand of the immense trauma they have suffered. We have an obligation to reunite separated families and ensure this cruel practice never happens again.”
The request for public input will be published in the Federal Register on Friday, and it will last for 30 days, the DHS statement said. The feedback will be “used to help develop recommendations to President Biden on how to prevent the Federal Government from implementing in the future the cruel and inhumane practice of intentionally separating families at the border as a tool of deterrence.”
The Department of Justice released a report in January that said the Trump administration’s implementation of a zero-tolerance policy led to the separation of thousands of children from their parents at the border and impeded reunification efforts.
The DHS statement highlighted President Joe Biden’s creation of a task force in February to reunite families. Over 2,000 children separated from their parents during the Trump administration were thought to largely remain separated at the time the DOJ’s report was published.
“The Task Force, in coordination with non-governmental organizations and interagency partners, has established a process to identify families separated under the prior administration’s Zero-Tolerance policy,” the statement read. “Families reunified in the United States, or those seeking to enter the United States for the purposes of reunification, are eligible for humanitarian parole and to receive support services.”
The Biden administration has rolled back many Trump-era immigration measures, including the “Remain in Mexico” policy, which was later reimposed by a federal judge. Record numbers of migrants have attempted to cross the border into the U.S. since President Joe Biden took office, with some attributing the motivating factor for their journey to the president himself.
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