KIND’s Family Separation Response Team continues to address the profound crisis caused by the prior administration’s “Zero Tolerance Policy” where thousands of children and families were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. We continue to help children and families address the long-term consequences of this devastating policy and seek protection.
The team coordinates sustained medical and social services to help separated children and families deal with the trauma of separation. Mental health services are especially critical for our traumatized child clients.
The team interviews new child clients and matches them with free, specially trained attorneys to provide legal representation. The team has assisted more than 800 individuals impacted by family separation. At the height of the Zero Tolerance policy, the team helped numerous parents and children find each other.
The team works closely with KIND’s International Programs Team in Central America to locate and support separated parents who were deported without their children, reunify families separated across borders, and provide psychosocial services to reunified families.
It has been one year since the Biden Administration created the Family Reunification Task Force to find parents still separated from their children under the previous Administration’s Zero Tolerance...Read More
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) submits this comment in response to the above Request for Input, “Identifying Recommendations To Support the Work of the Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of...Read More
In 2018, the Trump Administration’s Zero Tolerance policy forcibly separated more than 2,800 children from their parents–and shocked the nation’s conscience. These separations, and the thous...Read More
A Steering Committee charged by a federal court to find the parents forcibly separated by the Trump Administration has not been able to reach 545 of the thousands of parents who were separated from th...Read More
Yes. In some situations, families arriving at and between ports of entry to the United States are being separated by U.S. government officials. This includes parents separated from children, and children separated from other adult caretakers or guardians.
The “Zero Tolerance” policy officially ended on June 20, 2018, and a court order in Ms. L v. Sessions, a case brought by the ACLU, on June 26, 2018, prohibited the government from further separating families. However, the court order does not cover parents who are alleged to have a criminal history, a communicable disease, or are unfit or dangerous.
Currently, there are no specific criteria in place to define the scope of these exceptions. These determinations are made at U.S. Border Patrol stations without any particular guidelines, protocols, or procedures, and without a full analysis of the best interests of the child. Border Patrol also sometimes separates a parent and child when they are unable to confirm the family relationship, or when a child trafficking situation is suspected, as required under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA).
After a separation by Border Patrol, children are referred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). A child may then be taken to an ORR shelter facility hundreds or even thousands of miles away. The adult remains in DHS custody and placed in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) adult detention facility, or in some cases is transferred to Department of Justice Bureau of Prison’s custody if being prosecuted with federal criminal entry or reentry.
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As you can see, now more than ever, immigrant and migrant children need our help.
With family separations on the rise, children depend on us to protect them.
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