Biden task force has reunited 52 families separated under Trump: report
The Biden administration’s Family Reunification Task Force has reportedly reunited 52 families that were separated under former President Trump, up from just seven families in June.
The update was included in a new report from “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday, in which correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi interviews Michelle Brane, the chair of the task force.
Alfonsi reported that 52 families separated in 2018 under the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy have been reunited since the task force was created in February.
Brane warned that up to 1,500 or more families remain apart, noting it is difficult to discern a specific number because of the lack of records from the Trump administration.
“We estimate that over 1,000, somewhere between 1,000, 1,500 maybe more remain separated. It’s very hard to know because there’s no record,” Brane told Alfonsi.
“There was no system in place for documenting separations,” says Michelle Brané, who heads President Biden’s child reunification task force. She calls the Trump Administration’s record keeping for children separated from parents at the border “shocking.” https://t.co/pTRTwCF0tw pic.twitter.com/0dntcRbh8w
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 10, 2021
The task force has identified 82 families that it believes will be reunified, according to the report.
In June, a report from the Department of Homeland Security revealed that more than 2,100 children had still not been reunified with their families, to the task force’s knowledge. Roughly 2,800 children were taken from their parents under the 2018 policy, though the actual number may be higher.
Brane said that because there was no system in place in 2018 for documenting family separations, officials are now left without a database or system to consult when determining who was separated.
“What happened was that there was no system in place for documenting separations. So there’s nowhere to go to find out who was separated or not. It really is case-by-case detective work,” she said, adding that the situation is “shocking.”
Alfonsi cited a federal investigation into the government’s record-keeping during the child separations, which was found to be “ad-hoc.” One border station reportedly “used a whiteboard” to keep track of children, according to “60 Minutes.”
Additionally, phone numbers, addresses and names for parents were reportedly missing.
Brane also said it is difficult to locate the parents of children who were separated at the border because the young kids are with sponsors who they refer to as “mommy and daddy.”
“In many cases, these children are with sponsors who they now call mommy and daddy, right? And so it’s not as simple as just saying, ‘Gonna put you on a plane, and reunify you, and then we’re done,’” she said.