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DHS secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says separated migrant families can reunited in the U.S.

Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says families who were separated under Trump’s border crackdown can reunited in the U.S.

  • The Biden administration will allow separated migrant families the option of being reunified either in the United States or their county of origin 
  • Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas made announcement Monday at the White House 
  • If the families choose to be reunited in the United States, the administration would look to help them remain in the country  
  • Mayorkas twice used the word ‘cruelty’ to describe Trump-era separation policy
  • He noted that 150 families have been reunited with more than 500 to go
  • Mayorkas said he didn’t have a time frame on when all the children would be reunited with their families
  • ‘We are working around the clock – seven days a week – to make that time frame as short as possible,’ he said 

The Biden administration will allow separated migrant families the option of being reunified either in the United States or their county of origin, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on Monday. 

‘We are hoping to reunite the families, either here or in the country of origin. We hope to be in a position to give them the election,’ Mayorkas said during the daily White House press briefing. 

If the families choose to be reunited in the United States, the administration would look to help them remain in the country. 

‘If, in fact, they seek to reunite here in the United States, 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,’ he added. 

The Biden administration will allow separated migrant families the option of being reunified either in the United States or their county of origin, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said

The Biden administration will allow separated migrant families the option of being reunified either in the United States or their county of origin, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said

Mayorkas, who heads President Joe Biden’s task force on reuniting families, did not mince words when talking about the immigration system he was left to deal with by Biden’s predecessor, former President Donald Trump

Michelle Brané of the Women's Refugee Commission would head the administration's task force for the reunification of families

Michelle Brané of the Women's Refugee Commission would head the administration's task force for the reunification of families

Michelle Brané of the Women’s Refugee Commission would head the administration’s task force for the reunification of families

United States Customs and Border Protection – the agency that deals with border issues and immigration policy – resides in the Department of Homeland Security. 

Mayorkas twice used the word ‘cruelty’ the Trump-era policy of separating migrant families at the border. Trump eventually disbanded the policy under heavy public pressure.

The Homeland Security secretary called the separation policy ‘the most powerful and heartbreaking example of the cruelty that proceeded this administration.’ 

He also announced Michelle Brané of the Women’s Refugee Commission would head the administration’s task force for the reunification of families. Given his role as head of the department, most of the heavy lifting will fall to her. 

Biden established the task force via an executive order in early February – one of a series of executive orders he signed to overturn or amend actions taken by Trump

Mayorkas noted that 150 families have been reunited, work done by pro-bono lawyers and advocates. 

But those volunteers said they had yet to find the parents of 506 children. The parents of about 322 of the children are believed to have been deported.  

Mayorkas said he didn’t have a time frame on when all the children would be reunited with their families. 

‘We are working around the clock – seven days a week – to make that time frame as short as possible,’ he said.

‘Our overarching goal is, of course, to be as humane as the law provides – to be as restorative as the law enables us to be to bring justice to these families,’ he added. 

Immigrants seeking asylum hold hands as they leave a cafeteria at the ICE South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, in August 2019 - several centers have been reopened to handle the influx of migrants crossing the border

Immigrants seeking asylum hold hands as they leave a cafeteria at the ICE South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, in August 2019 - several centers have been reopened to handle the influx of migrants crossing the border

Immigrants seeking asylum hold hands as they leave a cafeteria at the ICE South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, in August 2019 – several centers have been reopened to handle the influx of migrants crossing the border

Migrant teens held at a camp in Tornillo, Texas - although 150 children have been reunited with their families, more than 500 still need to be

Migrant teens held at a camp in Tornillo, Texas - although 150 children have been reunited with their families, more than 500 still need to be

Migrant teens held at a camp in Tornillo, Texas – although 150 children have been reunited with their families, more than 500 still need to be

He also advised immigrants now is not the time to come to the United States. 

‘We are not saying don’t come. We are saying don’t come now,’ he said. 

Additionally, Mayorkas blasted the destruction to the immigration system he claims took place under President Trump

‘The prior administration dismantled our nation’s immigration system in its entirety,’ he said. ‘The entire system was gutted.’


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bourbiza

Bourbiza Mohamed. Writer and Political Discourse Analysis.

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