families-separated-at-border David Xol-Cholom, of Guatemala, hugs his son Byron Xol-Cholom at Los Angeles International Airport as they reunite after being separated about one and half years earlier during the Trump administration's wide-scale separation of immigrant families in Los Angeles on Jan. 22, 2020.
AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File

“White House is 100% supportive of it,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said.

The head of the US Department of Homeland Security says Congress should approve permanent legal status to families separated at the border under the Trump administration, and the White House is behind him. 

RELATED: Trump Administration Finally Hands Over Data Critical to Reuniting Families Separated at Border

“We are advocating to Congress that they provide these individuals with legal status—that requires a statutory change,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told NBC News on Feb. 1. 

Mayorkas added that the “White House is 100% supportive of it, as am I, and we continue to advocate vigorously for it.”

Last week marked the first anniversary of President Joe Biden’s executive order that created the Family Reunification Task Force. The task force’s purpose is to identify and implement comprehensive strategies that bring families back together and ensure that the children and parents who were intentionally separated from each other have support. Mayorkas serves as chair of the board. 

RELATED: Biden: I Will Create a Task Force to Reunite 545 Children With Families on Day One

During a White House briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki said that members of the Biden administration “stand by Secretary Mayorkas.” 

Under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy and a pilot program that preceded it, more than 5,600 children were separated from their parents

According to NBC News, the task force’s Executive Director Michelle Brané said that as many as 1,200 families remain separated. However, 130 have been reunited since Biden took office, and 400 or more reunifications are in progress.

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