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Task Force’s Initial Progress Report Highlights Encouraging Advances and Key Challenges to Come

WRC Responds to Family Reunification Task Force’s Initial Progress Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Biden administration’s Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families released its initial progress report today, highlighting its significant strides forward in identifying families separated under the previous administration and in establishing a reunification process for families.

In response, Leah Chavla, senior policy advisor in the Women’s Refugee Commission’s (WRC’s) Migrant Rights and Justice Program, said:

“The Task Force’s initial progress report shows a commitment to repairing the harms of family separation, which is very good to see. We are grateful for its efforts in scouring incomplete and scattered government records in its effort to identify all affected families and give them the opportunity to reunite and heal. We also applaud the establishment of a process for families to reunite in the U.S., and we urge the Task Force to ensure that, going forward, this process reflects the government’s obligation to redress the harm caused over the last four years, and to minimize any burden on the families through a streamlined and transparent process.

“WRC was thrilled to see four families reunited last month, after years apart. However, reunification is only one of many kinds of redress owed to these families by a government that caused them such harm. That’s why we will continue to advocate for permanent status to ensure stability, services for medical, mental health, and other needs, and the certainty that family separation won’t happen again. We urge the administration to harness this initial progress by expanding and accelerating its efforts to reunify and heal these families and restore faith in American justice.”

In addition to serving as a senior policy advisor at WRC, Chavla is a member of the court-recognized Steering Committee supporting the American Civil Liberties Union’s class action lawsuit against family separations, Ms. L v. ICE, tasked with helping to locate separated parents.