Homeland Security asks public for ideas on how to prevent family separations at border

Calling separation "cruel and inhumane," DHS is asking for public assistance to stop the practice.

Updated: December 12, 2021 - 3:38pm

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is asking for ideas from the public on "how the U.S. government can prevent family separations at the U.S. border."

Separations at the border occurred under the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations. President Joe Biden is considering $450,000 payments to thousands of migrants who were separated when they entered the United States under President Donald Trump's "zero-tolerance policy."

According to a DHS press release on Thursday, the government wants input on "how to permanently protect against the prior administration’s practice of intentionally separating families at the border to deter others from migrating to the United States."

Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said: "It is unconscionable to separate children from their parents as a means to deter migration… I have met with separated families and heard firsthand of the immense trauma they have suffered. We have an obligation to reunite separated families and ensure this cruel practice never happens again."

The Biden administration created a task force, led by Mayorkas, to focus on reuniting families, but the group wants public input. Any person, regardless of citizenship status, can submit comments until January 10, 2022, through the Federal Register.

Calling separation a "cruel and inhumane practice" used "as a tool of deterrence," the notice adds that reunified families, as well as those who enter the country to be reunited with loved ones, are "eligible for humanitarian parole and to receive support services."

Earlier this month, the Biden administration reluctantly reinstated the Trump-era "Remain in Mexico" policy following a court order.