An agreement was reached on Monday between the Joe Biden administration and migrant families separated at the border between Mexico and the United States. This text, which must still be approved by a judge, calls into question the so-called “zero tolerance” policy and reduces the possibility of new separations in the future.
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The administration of US President Joe Biden reached an amicable agreement on Monday, October 16, with migrant families separated at the border with Mexico under a policy of his predecessor Donald Trump, announced the Ministry of Justice.
Nearly 4,000 minors were separated from their parents under the Trump presidency under his so-called “zero tolerance” policy of bringing criminal charges against anyone who entered illegally across the border. As a result, parents could be immediately detained without their children.
“The practice of separating families at the southwest border was shameful,” Justice Minister Merrick Garland was quoted as saying in a statement.
The agreement, which ends a class action initiated in 2018 in a federal court in California (west), must still be submitted to a judge for approval. It provides support to affected families for immigration procedures, housing and care.
This agreement also aims to reduce the possibility of further separations in the future and notably prohibits the government from any action in this direction over the next eight years.
“A historic agreement” for the ACLU
Shortly after his arrival at the White House, Joe Biden created in February 2021 a unit dedicated to identifying and locating separated migrant families. This unit has so far “reunited more than 750 children with their families” and has identified 85 others about to be, according to the press release.
The influential civil rights organization ACLU, which led the collective procedure, welcomed, in a press release, having reached “a historic agreement” making it possible to “close one of the darkest chapters of the Trump administration.
BREAKING: We just reached a historic settlement on behalf of thousands of children and parents who were torn from each other under the Trump administration’s practice of family separation.
— ACLU (@ACLU) October 16, 2023
“An essential element of this agreement is that the government finally agreed not to renew this zero tolerance policy,” underlines the ACLU.
The tragedies experienced by separated families had sparked an outcry even in Republican ranks, leading Donald Trump to decide, in June 2018, to put an end to this policy intended to dissuade migrants from crossing the border. A federal judge, for his part, ordered the reunification of divided families.
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But, at the same time, the administration continued to separate families using the rule allowing the arrest and deportation of an undocumented parent if he or she has committed a serious crime.