The humanitarian organization Children in Need of Defense (KIND) urged President-elect Joe Biden on Monday to prepare to promptly undo the “cruel” immigration policies of President Donald Trump’s Administration, especially those that target children seeking refuge.
Among the most urgent issues, the organization stresses that the Biden administration should focus on the first 100 days of his administration on immediately stopping family separation and reuniting parents with their children.
The president-elect had specified in his campaign that he would create a task force to deal with the issue of immigrant family separation. Jennifer Podkul, vice president of KIND, recommended Monday at a press conference that such a group should make it a priority that all relevant and contact information for those separated families on government records be turned over to the committee established by a federal court in San Diego, charged with carrying out the reunification.
Last October a joint investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the ACLU found that more than 545 children have not been reunited with their parents. Of this total, neither the parents nor the children of 362 families could be located. In the case of the other 183 families, only the children could be located.
The situation seems to be more serious after it revealed that the number of families that have not been able to be reunified would reach more than 666.
“Policies and procedures should be implemented to help parents return quickly and safely to the United States so that they can be reunited with their children. Immediate immigration waiver options should be made available to separated families to ensure their stability and prevent deportation,” Podkul recommended.
The activist also stressed that Congress must work to create a path to permanent legal status for separated parents and children.
This would not be the only issue on which KIND is calling for early intervention by the next administration. Wendy Young, president of the organization, noted that the new administration is being asked to end Title 42, which allows the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to remove aliens arrested at the border on the grounds of a health emergency because of Covid 19.
In addition, KIND’s proposal suggests ending the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) program, which forces asylum seekers to remain in the foreign territory while their claims are being considered.
KIND delivered a series of recommendations that also urge Biden to establish new and expanded refugee processing in Central America, and guarantee a fair process for unaccompanied children entering the United States by providing them with lawyers in deportation proceedings.
“This is a clear roadmap for retaking the fundamental protections for migrant children under both international and domestic law,” Young said.