With the new group of migrant children, the government has zero contact information for their families.
In October, immigration lawyers revealed that they could not find the parents of 545 migrant children that were separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. However, a new report shows that the number of migrant children without their parents is higher.
According to an NBC News report, lawyers tasked with finding the deported parents of migrant children that remain in the US are now saying that 666 migrant children are missing their parents. Almost 20 percent of those children were under the age of 5 when they were separated from their parents, according to a source familiar with the data.
Steven Herzog, the lawyer who is at the helm of this reunification effort, said that the number is higher because the government did not provide a phone number for this new group of migrant children.
In the original report, which included the 545 migrant children, the government had on file contact information for their family in their native country. However, lawyers could not make contact with anyone over the past several months, and part of the reason was because they had fewer people on the ground due to COVID-19 restrictions. With the new group of migrant children, the government has zero contact information for their families.
According to this NBC News report, Herzog contacted attorneys with the Justice Department and said, “We would appreciate the government providing any available updated contact information or other information that may be helpful in establishing contact for all 666 of these parents.”
On Oct. 29, President-elect Joe Biden said that on day one of his presidency, he would launch a task force to find the children’s missing parents. However, he has not disclosed any details about how the reunification would occur, including if the deported parents would be allowed to return to the US and seek asylum.
Last month, Biden commented on the missing parents of the migrant children saying, “Every day it seems we uncover new horrors perpetrated by President Trump and his administration against our most deeply held values in pursuit of their extreme anti-immigrant agenda.”
He went on to say that under his administration he would secure the border while treating immigrants humanely and pursue comprehensive immigration reform.
“Families belong together,” Biden stated. “That’s the very core of my immigration policy. We can secure our borders without treating immigrants as less than human. My administration will treat asylum seekers at our border with dignity and ensure that they receive the fair, legal hearing to which they are entitled. I’ll send a bill to Congress on day one that will create a roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented individuals already living in and strengthening the United States. These are our neighbors and coworkers, and they are integral to our communities.”