Washington, DC – As the Biden Administration’s Interagency Taskforce on the Reunification of Families ends its first year, it seeks input from the public on efforts to reunite families cruelly separated by the previous Administration. KIND welcomes the opportunity to weigh in on this vital work and urges the public to join the effort to push for policies that prioritize family unity and eliminate the possibility of needlessly separating families seeking protection at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Public engagement was critical to halting the Zero Tolerance policy. It remains vital to ensure the Task Force lives up to its promise to address the egregious harms stemming from that policy and to create a path forward to ensure we never repeat that shameful practice,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “It is imperative that this Administration put in place policies and practices that protect family unity and guarantee that children are never again needlessly torn from their parents’ arms.”
KIND urges the public to weigh in with their own public comment calling on the Department of Homeland Security to adopt measures to create a system that prioritizes the best interests of children at all times, promotes family well-being and unity, and prevents trauma and separation of children and families. KIND notes that to realize these goals, the Administration should:
- Create clear and rigorous guidelines that prioritize keeping families together, except in specific cases where a child may be in danger.
- Ensure that qualified child welfare professionals are present at the border and are involved in all processing of children and families.
- Establish accessible and transparent procedures for challenging family separation decisions that allow for rapid resolution of contested cases.
- Carefully document any instances of family separation and enhance record keeping to ensure that children and their families can be quickly reunified and that separated children are not lost in the system.
As the Task Force’s 1-year anniversary approaches, KIND is available to discuss the public comment period and progress to date.
Media Contact: Megan McKenna, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-631-9990