In 2018, the Trump administration initiated a zero-tolerance policy for families illegally crossing the border. Although this policy was part of Obama’s plan for border control, it was not implemented to the extent that it was from April to June 2018.
The number of kids separated from parents or guardians during those three months was over 4,300. After taking office in 2021, the Biden administration has worked to identify over 3,900 children who were taken away.
In July 2019, another 700 children were reportedly removed from their parents or guardians, with about five kids per day having this experience occur.
Care Problems Abound for Child Separations
A group of attorneys representing clients involved with fighting the Trump Administration’s border policy visited a center in Clint, Texas, in 2019.
The children told the attorneys that their meals were usually instant oatmeal for breakfast, instant noodles for lunch, and a frozen burrito for dinner. They also reported not having a bath or a change of clothing in weeks.
There were no adult caretakers available for the separated children. The attorneys reported that girls as young as ten were taking care of infants and toddlers.
Out of the 3,900 children identified by the Biden administration, about 1,800 were reunified with a parent by July 2021. Another 1,695 kids have had their parents contacted about their current status.
Many of those who have been contacted were released to the care of other family members.
The ACLU wants the reunifications to happen faster, but the organization praises the efforts of the Biden team to get the job done. Reunited families are being allowed to remain in the country temporarily.