Dec 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

DHS asks for public input on preventing family separations at border

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in November. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has asked the public for input on how to prevent future administrations from separating families at the border, the agency announced on Thursday.

Why it matters: The Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy led to almost 4,000 children being separated from their parents from July 1, 2017, to Jan. 20, 2021. Many have been since been reunited with their families, but an estimated 1,443 children are still separated, per Axios' Oriana Gonzalez.

The big picture: In February, President Biden established the Task Force on the Reunification of Families to help reunite families. The task force has reunited 63 families, bringing the total of reunited children to 2,234.

  • An additional 280 migrant children have been identified since September and are now in process of being reunified with their familiars.

Details: The request will publish in the Federal Register on Friday and comments will be accepted for 30 days.

  • The feedback "will be used to help develop recommendations to President Biden" on how to prevent separating families at the border.

What they're saying: “It is unconscionable to separate children from their parents as a means to deter migration,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas, according to the press release.

  • "We have an obligation to reunite separated families and ensure this cruel practice never happens again,"Mayorkas added.
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