105 migrant children have been reunited with their parents, officials say

The legal team may find it harder to find the parents of over half of the remaining children due to deportation

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On Wednesday, the parents of over 100 migrant children separated during the Trump administration have been found. A legal team is now working to reunite the families.

NBC News reported a committee of pro-bono lawyers and advocates have located the parents of 105 children in their attempt to find hundreds more. The news outlet reported the group began with a goal of finding the parents of 611 children.

The legal team may find it harder to find the parents of over half of the remaining 506 children due to deportation.

Trump's family separation policy thegrio.com
In this June 21, 2018, photo, migrant children walk off a bus at the Catholic Charities’ Msgr. Bryan Walsh Children’s Village in Cutler Bay, Fla. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Monday, June 25, that children who range in age from newborns to 5 years old are being sheltered at this facility and His House Children’s Home in Miami Gardens. (Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Read More: US border officials expelled at least 66 migrant children against court order

According to the report, the lawyers believe around 322 of the children’s parents are believed to have been deported, making them harder to find. Some of the parents likely decided to be deported without their children so the minors would be allowed to stay in the United States and be granted asylum.

Although the number stands at 105 parents of children being located, NBC News reported that the judge does not require lawyers to say how many parents and children have actually been reunited.

A White House statement revealed President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris initiated a task force for family reunification and issued executive orders on regional migration and legal immigration.

“A key part of this effort is the creation of a task force to reunite families that remain separated. This task force will work across the U.S. government, with key stakeholders and representatives of impacted families, and with partners across the hemisphere to find parents and children separated by the Trump Administration,” the statement said.

“The task force will make recommendations to the President and federal agencies regarding steps that they can take to reunify families.” 

Read More: Judge orders border officials to stop expelling migrant children due to virus

Lee Gelernt, a lawyer representing the separated families and the deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said to NBC News the task force should focus on bringing the deported parents back under special protections to be reunited with their children.

According to Voxthe Biden administration decided to reopen temporary shelters for migrant children arriving on the US southern border alone. However, some minors who arrive with adults are still being turned away. 

The need for temporary shelters has come from capacity levels at permanent facilities being cut in half due to COVID-19 measures. The outlet reported overflow shelters and tented facilities had been opened, including a location in Carrizo Springs, Texas.

What we are doing is working as quickly as possible to process these kids into these HHS facilities … so we can then transfer them to families,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki shared“This is a difficult situation. It’s a difficult choice.”

Briefing Held At White House By Press Secretary Psaki
WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 23: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a news briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on February 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. Psaki held a news briefing to answer questions from the members of the press. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Immigration advocates share that although the facilities are different than the “cages” in US Customs and Border Protection holding facilities, migrant children still face an unnecessary traumatic experience.

“We must not repeat these mistakes and expose more children to the long-term physical and mental health effects of detention,” said Oliver Torres, a senior outreach paralegal for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Project to Vox.

“To simply return to the failed model of child detention of the pre-Trump era is a missed opportunity to meaningfully reimagine our immigration system, particularly with respect to immigrant children.”

theGrio reported a judge banned President Joe Biden’s administration from enforcing a 100-day moratorium on most deportations. US District Judge Drew Tipton argued the moratorium violated federal law. 

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