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 PsakiZelensky says 'there are no minor incursions' after Biden's comments on Ukraine, Russia The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Connected Commerce Council - Dems regroup as Biden agenda stumbles Biden clarifies any Russian movement into Ukraine 'is an invasion' 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 MaddowMichigan AG asks federal prosecutors to investigate false GOP electors Democrats skeptical of McConnell's offer to talk on election law Amid multiple crises, Biden runs to NBC's safe space with Jimmy Fallon MORE, the host asked Psaki about recent reports that both first lady Jill BidenJill BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks, Senate balks Jill Biden adds to communications team in lead-up to midterm elections Harris invokes MLK in voting rights push, urges Senate to 'do its job' MORE and Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasDemocrats calls on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans A review of President Biden's first year on border policy  Rift grows between Biden and immigration advocates 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. 

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 HawleyMissouri Senate candidate says Congress members should go to jail if guilty of insider trading On The Money — Ban on stock trading for Congress gains steam The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Schumer tees up doomed election reform vote 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 GrassleySenate panel advances bill blocking tech giants from favoring own products Voting rights and Senate wrongs Swalwell slams House Republican for touting funding in bill she voted down 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 SchumerDemocrats calls on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Predictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure Voting rights and Senate wrongs 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.”