Washington, DC—In anticipation of the Biden Administration’s announcement today, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) welcomes the Biden Administration’s new Task Force on Family Separation as a vital first step in the long process to undo the Trump Administration’s devastating family separation policies. The group was established to help reunite families separated under the Trump Administration’s Zero Tolerance policy that forcibly took more than 2,800 children from their parents, as well as thousands before and after the policy’s end. Many remain separated to this day.
“Repairing the damage done to children, families, and our nation by the abhorrent policy of family separation will not happen overnight, but there are a number of actions the Task Force can take immediately to begin the process of reunifying parents with their children. They must also identify policies that ensure these kinds of cruel and unnecessary separations never happen again,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “KIND continues to witness the unspeakable pain of our separated child clients. We look forward to working with the Task Force to facilitate reunification of these children with their parents, and we will continue to reach out to separated parents as a member of the court-ordered Steering Committee charged with accounting for these families. The fact that the parents of more than 600 children have yet to be reached is a stark reminder of the urgent work ahead.”
The Task Force announced today has the opportunity to provide much-needed redress for children and their families. KIND notes that among its priorities, the Task Force should:
- Ensure that all relevant contact information for separated families in the government’s records is made available to those working on reunifications
- Support the Steering Committee and civil society organizations in countries where parents are located to find families outside of the United States
- Put in place policies and procedures to help parents return quickly and safely to the United States to reunify with their children
- Make immediate immigration reprieve options available for separated families to ensure their stability and prevent deportation
- Work with Congress to create a pathway to permanent lawful status for separated parents and children
- Ensure that all parents and children, either in the United States or abroad, are compensated for the pain and suffering they have endured and that they have access to mental health and other critical support services needed to begin healing.
- Identify ways in which the federal government can minimize unnecessary and harmful separations in the future
Media Contact: Megan McKenna, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-631-9990