Imagility News

US Government Agrees to Settlement Preventing Family Separation at the Border for Eight Years

The U.S. Department of Justice revealed on Monday a court settlement with migrant families separated at the border during the Trump administration. Pending approval by a San Diego district court, the agreement offers relief to victims of the former president’s policies and prohibits the U.S. government from employing similar measures for the next eight years. Should the settlement gains approval, it would provide temporary protection from “zero tolerance” policies, especially if Trump returns to the White House in January 2025 after the upcoming elections.

The deal stands to benefit approximately 4,500 to 5,000 minors and their parents, who suffered separation under the directives of Stephen Miller, Trump’s radical border advisor. Eligible individuals within this group may receive work permits lasting three to five years, housing assistance for one year, legal support, and limited medical coverage, including psychological help to address the trauma resulting from the situation.

As part of the settlement, the government commits to continuing the identification of separated families, funding their reunification in the United States, and initiating procedures to consider offering them asylum. Notably, the settlement does not involve any financial compensation for the affected families.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which initiated the suit in July 2019, highlighted the government’s commitment to refrain from implementing similar policies in the future as a crucial aspect of the agreement. Anthony Romero, the executive director of the ACLU, acknowledged the settlement as a closure to a dark chapter but emphasized the lasting tragic impact on the affected families.

Merrick Garland, Biden’s attorney general, commented on the settlement, stating, “This agreement will facilitate the reunification of separated families and provide them with critical services to aid in their recovery,” acknowledging three years of negotiations that led to the resolution.

The “zero-tolerance policy” implemented by Trump’s administration drew international condemnation for its inhumane treatment of migrant families. Initially secretively applied in 2018, the policy resulted in the separation of adult migrants and their children, with some 1,500 undocumented minors losing track by May of that year. The ACLU’s lawsuit, initiated during Trump’s presidency, claimed around 900 minors were separated from their parents.

Upon assuming office in January 2021, President Joe Biden abolished the Trump policy, establishing a task force to locate and reunite separated families. According to the Department of Homeland Security, approximately 3,881 minors were separated from their parents between 2017 and 2021.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas expressed the intent to prevent the repetition of past cruelty and advance efforts through the settlement agreement. While about 74% of families have been reunited, the working group created by the Biden administration has successfully reunited around 750 children, with 85 more in the process. Notably, at least 290 minors affected by Trump’s zero-tolerance policy have American citizenship.

The Biden government initially considered compensating victims with up to $450,000 but faced internal criticism, ultimately dropping the proposal. The administration resolved individual cases through litigation, culminating in Monday’s settlement, with a commitment not to repeat the policy in the future, leaving the question of Trump’s actions if he returns to power unanswered.

Source: MSN