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Family Reunification Task Force

Seals of the US Deoartment of Homeland Security, State, Health and Human Services and Justice

The administration is committed to the safe reunification of families that were unjustly separated at the U.S.-Mexico Border.

On Tuesday February 2, 2021, President Biden ordered the formation of the President’s Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families (Task Force) and placed the Secretary of Homeland Security as the Chair.

The Department of Homeland Security is a member of the President’s Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families and is joined by the Department of State, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Justice.

The Task Force is currently identifying and implementing comprehensive strategies that will bring families back together, ensuring that the children and parents who were intentionally separated from each other are provided support.

 

Statement of Principles

The Task Force has defined guiding principles for their work together:

The Family Reunification Task Force (Task Force) will be defined by the relentless pursuit of bringing families back together.
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The Task Force must balance the need for swift action with the need for comprehensive and stable support.
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To the extent permissible under law, separated families should have the option of being reunified either in the United States or their country of origin.
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The Task Force will partner with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector to leverage needed reunification and support services and receive recommendations throughout the reunification process.
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Support to reunified families will be defined very broadly, to include transportation, healthcare (including trauma and mental health services), legal services, and career and educational services.
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To the extent possible, the expenses of reunification and reunification-related support will be borne by government, NGOs, and the private sector – and never by the families.
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Reunification efforts will be defined broadly. Additional family members of the children who were separated, such as siblings, will be considered for reunification where there is a compelling humanitarian interest in doing so.
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To the extent permissible under law, the Task Force will identify opportunities for families to pursue legal immigration status that best ensures their safety and stability.
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The Task Force will maintain clear communication with the public to explain the reunification process, report on progress, and educate on available resources to support reunited families.
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The Task Force will identify and implement long-term reform efforts to ensure that family separations not based on the best interests of the child are not permitted to occur again.

Task Force Leadership & Senior Staff

Alejandro Mayorkas

Alejandro Mayorkas

Secretary of Homeland Security

Antony J. Blinken

Antony J. Blinken

Secretary of State

Xavier Becerra

Xavier Becerra

Secretary of Health and Human Services

Merrick Garland

Merrick Garland

Attorney General

Michelle Brané
Executive Director
Family Reunification Task Force

Dr. Pritesh Gandhi, MD, MPH
Chief Medical Officer
Department of Homeland Security

Jennifer Daskal
Deputy General Counsel
Department of Homeland Security

Marc Rosenblum
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Immigration Statistics
Office of Strategy, Policy and Plans
Department of Homeland Security

Suzy George
Chief of Staff
Department of State

Marta Youth
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Department of State

Katherine Dueholm
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Western Hemisphere
Department of State

Scott Renner
Office of Children’s Issues
Department of State

Cindy Huang
Director, Office of Refugee Resettlement
Department of Health and Human Services

CMDR Jonathan D. White, Ph.D, LCSW-C, CPH
Senior Advisor for UC Operations, Administration for Children and Families
Department of Health and Human Services

Tricia Swartz
Associate Deputy Director, Office of Refugee Resettlement
Department of Health and Human Services

Sparkle Sooknanan
Deputy Associate Attorney General
Department of Justice

Margy O'Herron
Senior Counsel, Office of Deputy Attorney General
Department of Justice

Brian Fletcher
Counsel to the Attorney General
Department of Justice

 

Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

What is the Family Reunification Task Force? The Family Reunification Task Force is a group of government officials selected by the President of the United States to address the human tragedy that occurred when our immigration laws were used to intentionally separate children from their parents or legal guardians (families), including through the use of the Zero-Tolerance Policy.  The Department of Homeland Security leads the President’s Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families and is joined by the Department of State, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Justice.

What is the Family Reunification Task Force trying to do? The Task Force is currently identifying and implementing comprehensive strategies that will bring families back together, ensuring that the children and parents who were intentionally separated from each other for the purpose of deterrence are provided support.

Will information that is provided to the Task Force be shared with Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE)? Individuals whose cases are referred to the Family Reunification Task Force will not be referred to ICE for removal from the United States. The information may be shared with national security and law enforcement agencies, including ICE and CBP, for purposes other than removal, such as to identify or prevent fraudulent claims, for national security purposes, or for the investigation or prosecution of a criminal offense.

What does the Family Reunification Task Force want me to be aware of?  The Family Reunification Task Force (Task Force) is issuing a public warning to families seeking reunification services on ways to avoid becoming a victim of immigration scam. The following guidance below will help you avoid immigration scams and protect your family from bad actors.

Avoid Scams

How can I tell if an email that I received is from a government official? Emails from the U.S. government always end in the domain“.gov”. If the sender claims to be a government official, please always check to ensure any emails you may have received are from an official representative of the U.S. Government.

Will the Task Force call me and ask me to pay money to see my child? The Family Reunification Task Force will never make unsolicited phone calls or send letters through the mail to request money from families. Neither USCIS nor any other US Government entity will ever ask you to transfer money to an individual. In addition, we will never ask you to pay fees to a person on the phone or by email.

What should I do if I have received calls or letter asking me for money? If you or a family you are aware of receive a communication from DHS that appears to be a scam, please report it by emailing USCIS.Webmaster@uscis.dhs.gov.

Is there a fee I can pay to expedite my process?  Does the government contract with third party affiliates to help me expedite my process? Sometimes businesses and websites pretend to be immigration experts or say they have special connections to the government. They might also “guarantee” that you can get to the United States faster if you pay a fee. Remember, no one can obtain Family Reunification services faster through you paying them a fee. Do not pay anyone offering these services. If you become aware of such business practices, please report it by emailing USCIS.Webmaster@uscis.dhs.gov.

Can I hire a “notary public” in the United States to assist me with my case? In many Latin American countries, the term “notario publico” (which is Spanish for “notary public”) means something very different than what it means in the United States. In many Spanish-speaking nations, “notarios” are powerful attorneys with special legal credentials. In the U.S., however, notary publics are people appointed by state governments to witness the signing of important documents and administer oaths. A notario publico is not authorized to provide you with any legal services related to immigration. Only an attorney or an accredited representative working for a Department of Justice (DOJ)-recognized organization can give you legal advice.  

Before coming to the U.S., should I hire an immigration specialist? I have been told I should give them my important original documents, is this true? Don't let anyone keep your original documents, like your birth certificate or passport. Scammers may keep them until you pay to get them back. These same scammers may also ask you to sign blank documents, suggesting they will fill them out later on your behalf. Never sign a form before it has been filled out, or a form that has false information in it. Furthermore, you should never sign a document that you don't understand.

Who should I notify if I become a victim of immigration scams? What if I am aware of others who have been a victim of immigration scams? Immigration scams are illegal. If you or someone you know has seen an immigration scam or been the victim of one, it's important to report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the attorney general of your state. Go to ftc.gov/complaint (or call 1-877-382-4357), or visit naag.org to find out how to contact the attorney general in your state. The FTC does not resolve individual complaints. Instead, the FTC enters complaints in a secure online database used by law enforcement worldwide, including many federal, state and local officials, who spot trends and build cases.

The more information you can give, the more helpful your report is to the person who will investigate. Investigators are grateful for as much information as you feel comfortable giving.

Contact the Task Force

Media Inquiries

Are You a Parent Trying to Contact the Task Force?

The Task Force is creating a streamlined pathway for families to connect to reunification and support services. This pathway will include security measures to ensure the privacy of those involved.  Further instructions for families will be released here.

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Learn More

Press Releases / Executive Orders

Last Published Date: May 3, 2021

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