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Psaki expects DHS nominee Mayorkas to head task force to reunite separated families

Psaki expects DHS nominee Mayorkas to head task force to reunite separated families
© Reuters/Pool

White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiSullivan: White House 'absolutely committed' to raising refugee cap Biden on refugee cap: 'We couldn't do two things at once' Biden, Japan's PM focus on China, North Korea in first bilateral meeting MORE on Thursday night said she expects President Biden's nominee for Department of Homeland Security to head a task force dedicated to reunited families that have been separated at the border. 

During an interview with MSNBC's Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowOcasio-Cortez eyeing T over 10 years for infrastructure Tucker Carlson: Matt Gaetz sexual allegation interview 'one of weirdest' he's done MSNBC changes branding of live breaking news coverage to 'MSNBC Reports' MORE, the host asked Psaki about recent reports that both first lady Jill BidenJill BidenBidens attend grandson's confirmation DC goes to the dogs — Major and Champ, that is The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - Biden to Putin: Tough sanctions, straight talk MORE and Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasSunday shows preview: Russia, US exchange sanctions; tensions over policing rise; vaccination campaign continues Hillicon Valley: Facebook Oversight board to rule on Trump ban in 'coming weeks' | Russia blocks Biden Cabinet officials in retaliation for sanctions Russia blocks key Biden Cabinet officials from entering in retaliation for sanctions MORE would play a part in the effort to reunite families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Biden, while on the campaign trail, has called the separation of families at the border during the Trump administration a "moral failing," and has vowed to institute a task force dedicated to reuniting children and parents. 

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"I would expect that that ... Mayorkas, who we expect will be confirmed soon, will be playing a prominent role leading this effort, overseeing it, of course, out of the Department of Homeland Security, and we'll have more to share soon about the members of the task force and how it will work as we look ahead to address this really horrific challenge," Psaki told Maddow.

Migrant children who came with their parents to the U.S. southern border starting in April 2018 were separated after the Trump administration implemented a "zero-tolerance" policy in which adults were criminally charged. 

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The policy lead to more than 3,000 migrant family separations, according to a report from NBC News. Many of these families have yet to be reunited. 

Trump eventually ended the policy during his tenure. 

The Biden administration officially rescinded the "zero-tolerance policy" earlier this week, though the move was largely symbolic.

Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyRepublicans who backed Trump impeachment see fundraising boost Hillicon Valley: Biden administration sanctions Russia for SolarWinds hack, election interference The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring MORE (R-Mo.) had previously placed a roadblock in Mayorkas's confirmation in the Senate, expressing concerns about his planned immigration policies.

Other Senate Republicans, including Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley: Iowa can't afford to be 'babysitting' unaccompanied minors Anti-Asian hate crimes bill overcomes first Senate hurdle On The Money: Senate confirms Gensler to lead SEC | Senate GOP to face off over earmarks next week | Top Republican on House tax panel to retire MORE (Iowa), have expressed concerns about a 2015 inspector general report indicating he intervened in some Citizenship and Immigration Services on behalf of Democrats during his tenure there.

However, Mayorkas's confirmation cleared a procedural hurdle with some Republican support Thursday, with the Senate voting 55-42 to advance the nomination. Mayorkas's formal confirmation vote is set for Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck Schumer'Building Back Better' requires a new approach to US science and technology Pew poll: 50 percent approve of Democrats in Congress Former state Rep. Vernon Jones launches challenge to Kemp in Georgia MORE (D-N.Y.) blasted the hold Thursday, saying saying "because of the tactics of some Republican members, particularly the junior senator from Missouri, Mr. Mayorkas’s nomination is being needlessly stalled.”