WASHINGTON – Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas released the following statement regarding the settlement agreement made in the Ms. L vs. Immigration and Customs Enforcement class action lawsuit:
“Today’s agreement reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s unwavering commitment to reunify families who suffered because of the prior Administration’s cruel and inhumane policy, and our steadfast adherence to our nation’s most dearly held values. This agreement helps family members reunify with their loved ones in the United States and receive services to help them address the trauma they have suffered. We appreciate the work of our federal partners in the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in helping make this agreement possible. We also recognize the important work of non-governmental organizations that have stood by the families and continue to support their reunification. Our partnership is unified in condemning the cruelty of the past. The Department of Homeland Security has taken steps to ensure that the prior practice of separating families does not happen again, and we are continuing the work of reuniting children with their parents.”
When the DHS-led Family Reunification Task Force (Task Force) began its work in February 2021, the information known about the families who had been separated was patchwork at best, pieced together from segmented documentation compiled through the Ms. L. v. ICE litigation. The information from the Ms. L litigation did not cover the full time span required by Executive Order 14011, Establishment of the Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families. The Task Force has searched through thousands of government records to identify separated families and has thus far reunited more than 750 children with their families and has identified 85 children who are currently in the process of being reunited with their families. The Task Force has also identified more than 290 U.S. citizen children who were separated from their parents during the relevant time frame and is working to locate these children to confirm that they have been reunified with their families and offer them services to support their reunification.