Feds Say Reunited Families Will Be Allowed to Stay in US

'We are acting as restoratively as possible'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2021 2:55 PM CST
Separated Families Will Be Allowed to Stay in US
In this Jan. 22, 2020 file photo, David Xol-Cholom of Guatemala hugs his son, Byron, at Los Angeles International Airport as they reunite after being separated in 2019.   (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says the Biden administration is working to undo the damage caused by the border separation policy, which he calls "the most powerful and heartbreaking example of the cruelty" of the previous administration. Mayorkas said Monday that the federal government is "dedicating resources full-time" to reuniting families separated at the border and the administration is looking into ways to allow the families to remain in the US, Axios reports. "We are acting as restoratively as possible," said Mayorkas. He said 105 families separated under the now-rescinded "zero tolerance" border policy have recently been reunited.

"We are hoping to reunite the families, either here or in their country of origin," Mayorkas said at the Monday briefing, per the Hill. "And if, in fact they seek to reunite here in the United States, we will explore lawful pathways for them to remain in the United States, and to address the family needs." Advocates praised the move but said the administration needs to be more specific about the "pathways" involved. "The devil is in the details and Secretary Mayorkas has to shed all the caveats and qualifications around his announcement and follow through with everything that’s necessary to right the wrong," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero. (Critics accused Biden of hypocrisy after a "holding center" for unaccompanied minors was reopened.)

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