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US to begin reuniting migrant families separated under Trump
In this file photo Border Patrol agents apprehend a group of migrants near downtown El Paso, Texas following the congressional border delegation visit on March 15, 2021. The United States will begin reuniting migrant children with their parents this week after they were separated by the administration of former president Donald Trump, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said May 3, 2021. Mayorkas tweeted that four mothers who had fled "extremely dangerous situations in their home countries" would be reunited with children as young as three years old.
AFP/Justin Hamel

US to begin reuniting migrant families separated under Trump

(Agence France-Presse) - May 4, 2021 - 7:35am

WASHINGTON, United States — The United States will begin reuniting migrant children with their parents this week after they were separated by the administration of former president Donald Trump, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said Monday.

Mayorkas tweeted that four mothers who had fled "extremely dangerous situations in their home countries" would be reunited with children as young as three years old.

"We are pleased that the process of reunifications is beginning this week and that these four mothers will be hugging their children after so many years," he wrote.

He added in a statement released by his department that the move was "just the beginning." 

"We are reuniting the first group of families, many more will follow, and we recognize the importance of providing these families with the stability and resources they need to heal."

President Joe Biden has prioritized a special task force to reunify the hundreds of families as part of his sweeping rolling back of Trump's hardline policies, which focused on deterring migration from Central America. 

Biden has called the family separations a "moral failure and a national shame."

Trump announced his zero tolerance policy towards undocumented migrants in 2018, declaring that they would be arrested and charged with a crime. 

As part of the new regime children were separated from their parents, on a promise that the families would be reunited within weeks. But this did not happen in thousands of cases.

A public outcry and lawsuits forced the Trump administration to halt the separations, but for as many as 5,000 children, the damage had been done.

Trump's immigration officials kept poor records and did little to cooperate with groups seeking to help the children, forcing more lawsuits.

It was not clear how many children were still separated from their parents by the time the Biden administration took over, but estimates put it at as high as 1,000.

Many of them are from rural, inaccessible mountain communities, with reunification made even harder by the coronavirus pandemic and two hurricanes that ravaged Central America last fall.

The task force created by Biden has been "working tirelessly to establish a complete database of separated families, correct inaccuracies in the files they were provided, and build the processes to find every family and give them the opportunity to reunite and heal," the homeland security statement said.

It did not clarify if the children will be permitted to stay in the United States legally with their parents.

DONALD TRUMP IMMIGRATION JOE BIDEN UNITED STATES
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: May 8, 2021 - 2:04pm

Joe Biden takes office as the 46th president of the United States with an optimistic call for unity, vowing to bridge deep divides and defeat domestic extremism two weeks after a violent mob tried to undo his election victory.

On a frigid but sunny day at the very Capitol building that was assaulted on January 6, Biden was sworn in moments after Kamala Harris became America's first woman vice president, closing the book on Donald Trump's tumultuous four years.

"Democracy is precious, democracy is fragile and at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed," Biden says before a National Mall that was virtually empty due to the ultra-tight security and a raging COVID-19 pandemic that he vowed to confront immediately.  — AFP

May 8, 2021 - 2:04pm

The United States added just 266,000 jobs in April -- a quarter of the number expected -- in a surprise setback for President Joe Biden's efforts to revive an economy blighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The weak hiring also pushed the unemployment rate up slightly to 6.1%, according to the Labor Department's monthly employment report released Friday.

The data defied economists' upbeat predictions that widespread Covid-19 vaccines and government relief measures would allow businesses to return to normal and add one million jobs last month. — AFP

May 6, 2021 - 8:01am

President Joe Biden says that America's Republicans face an identity crisis and a "mini-revolution" after Donald Trump's turbulent presidency.

The Democrat, who defeated Trump last November and had pledged to work with Republicans if he could, said the opposition has lost its way.

"It seems as though the Republican Party is trying to identify what it stands for and they're in the midst of a significant mini-revolution," he tells reporters at the White House. —  AFP

May 4, 2021 - 10:15am

President Joe Biden announces, after coming under fierce criticism, that he was raising the maximum number of refugees allowed into the United States this year to 62,500 — up from the 15,000 cap imposed by his predecessor Donald Trump.

The change follows backlash from allies over Biden's earlier decision to keep the Trump-era limits -- a politically costly moment of confusion that stood out in a White House notable for its iron discipline in its first three months.

"This erases the historically low number set by the previous administration of 15,000, which did not reflect America's values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees," Biden says in a statement. —  AFP

May 3, 2021 - 12:10pm

Britain this week hosts the first face-to-face meeting of G7 foreign ministers in two years, joined by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as world powers tackle pandemic recovery plus growing tensions with Russia and China.

The Covid-secure gathering in London will prepare the ground for a G7 summit in southwest England next month, which will mark Joe Biden's inaugural visit to Europe as US president. Both events will also be joined by Indian leaders.

Many of the G7 nations have rallied to India's aid as the world's most populous democracy confronts a terrifying surge of coronavirus cases, although the pandemic is ebbing elsewhere in the West thanks to mass vaccination drives. —  AFP

April 30, 2021 - 8:21am

US President Joe Biden meets with longtime ally and Democratic icon Jimmy Carter as he visited the southern state of Georgia to pitch his huge spending plans. 

It was their first face-to-face encounter since Biden won the White House last November.

"They are such a powerful reminder that serving our country isn't limited to the office you hold," Jill Biden says afterwards in Duluth, Georgia, before introducing her husband at a rally. —  AFP

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