According to authorities, the initiative will begin for four migrant families who had been separated from their children at the southern border.
In February, President Joe Biden formed a task force to recognise separated parents and children, which has been developing a database from which to act. The original four families of the task force will be the first to be reunited.
Migrant parents are now permitted to reunite with their children in the United States under a revised policy. The Trump administration banned deported parents from returning to the border, except to reclaim their children.
“We are reuniting the first group of families, many more will follow, and we recognize the importance of providing these families with the stability and resources they need to heal,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, chair of the task force, said in a statement.
Authorities are reviewing additional cases for reunification in the coming months, the department said Sunday.
The task force is also exploring options for “long-term legal stability for reunified families and identifying and recommending policies to avoid repeating these unnecessary and cruel separations in the future,” the department said.
The four reuniting families are from Honduras and Mexico. Some of the children have been separated since 2017, according to Mayorkas, and have been living in the United States.
Mayorkas said some of the children were as young as 3 years old and others were teenagers “who have had to live without their parents during their most formative years.”
“They are mothers who fled extremely dangerous situations in their home countries, who remained in dangerous environments in Mexico, holding out hope to reunite with their children,” Mayorkas said, according to NPR.
According to Michelle Brané, executive director of Biden’s Family Reunification Task Force, the projects will reunite over 1,000 families. However, she mentioned that the precise amount is unclear since the previous government did not maintain full records.
According to Brané, the families will be granted conditional entry into the United States by a procedure known as compassionate parole.
A federal judge ruled in 2018 that the Trump administration was required to reunite thousands of families with their children, but some parents have already been deported. The court order permitted only a few hundred parents to reunite with their children.
Lee Gelernt, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney representing migrant families in a federal court case, told CBS News that he’s been in settlement talks with the government about reuniting 1,000 more families.
He has said that he wants authorities to put broken families on a road to citizenship and to provide them with assistance and rewards.
Brané mentioned that the government is now thinking about “longer-term status” for the families.
In early 2018, the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” campaign against illegal migration resulted in the separation of almost 2,800 migrant families. Separated children were placed in government-run shelters, while their parents were typically arrested for unlawfully crossing the border.