Almost 4,000 children were separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border during Donald Trump’s presidency.
The Biden administration announced today, June 8, that a total of 3,913 children had been separated from their parents between July 2017 and the end of Trump‘s presidency at the beginning of this year.
The news comes as part of a report conducted by the Family Reunification Task Force, which concluded that not as many children had been separated from their families as initially thought.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had previously stated that more than 5,500 children had been identified.
Many of these 5,000 children were said to have been separated over the three-and-a-half years as a result of Trump’s ‘zero tolerance policy’, which meant anyone who entered the US illegally would be criminally prosecuted.
While the Family Reunification Task Force’s findings slightly differed to that of the ACLU’s, both organisations have identified Trump’s zero tolerance policy as being a key factor in these children being separated.
In light of its new report, the Task Force confirmed that it was confident that it had identified ‘nearly all’ children separated under Trump’s controversial policy, Yahoo! News reports. Meanwhile, it’s currently reviewing a further 1, 723 cases from the same timeframe in question.
If all these cases go on to be found to be a result of Trump’s policy, the Family Reunification Task Force’s final tally won’t be that far off the ACLU’s.
It’s believed the reason behind the large discrepancy between the tally is due to a federal court in San Diego excluding the 1,732 cases because the separation was not down to Trump’s policy, but down to other reasons such as risks of child endangerment.
The Task Force’s report also detailed the ethnicities of the children who fell victim to the zero tolerance policy, with more than half of them being Guatemalan.
2,270 children were Guatemalan, while 1,150 were Honduran, 281 were Salvadoran, 75 were Mexican, 74 were Brazilian, and 23 were Romanian.
Today’s report comes after the Biden administration announced that four of the families who were separated while Trump was in office were to be reunited last month, AP News reports. Two of the four families were mothers who had their children taken away from them in late 2017.
Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that the reunions were ‘just the beginning’ of the administration’s border efforts.
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