- The official tasked with undoing Trump’s separation of migrant families spoke to “60 Minutes.”
- Michelle Brane said 52 families had been reunited, a tiny proportion of the 1,000 or so separated.
- Brane blamed chaotic or non-existent record by the Trump administration.
A task force set up by the Biden administration has managed to reunite only 52 of around 1,000 families separated under the Trump administration, “60 Minutes” reported.
Michelle Brane, head of the Family Reunification Task Force, told the CBS program on Sunday night that bringing families back together is extremely difficult because Trump officials kept such poor records of who they separated.
“We estimate that over 1,000, somewhere between 1,000, 1,500 maybe more remain separated. It’s very hard to know because there’s no record,” Brane said.
“So there’s nowhere to go to find out who was separated or not. It really is case-by-case detective work,” she said.
—60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 10, 2021
The task force said it believes the total number will rise to 82 based on its current work.
Trump’s family-separation policy saw thousands of children taken from their undocumented migrant parents at the US-Mexico border
They were held in often-squalid detention facilities, and court records obtained by news organisations in June 2018 found that Trump officials split the families up with no clear plan to reunite them.
A 2019 report by the Department for Homeland Security General described the administration’s methods of recording separations as “ad hoc,” and said officials and IT systems had not been equipped for the task.
In a a June 2021 update, the task for said that 3,913 children had been separated under the policy.
It said that prior court orders had reunited 1,779 children with parents, leaving 2,217 — figures which appear to be separate from the estimate of 1,000 or so separated families the task force is seeking to reunite.
Brane told “60 Minutes” that some of the separated children have been gone so long that they consider their host families in the US to be their parents now.
“In many cases, these children are with sponsors who they now call mommy and daddy, right? And so it’s not as simple as just saying, ‘Gonna put you on a plane, and reunify you, and then we’re done.'”