The US government has said it has reunited 522 children with their families since President Donald Trump announced an end to his administration’s controversial policy of separating migrant families crossing into the country illegally.
The department of homeland security, the agency that has oversight on immigration and border control, on Saturday said it had “reunited 522 unaccompanied alien children in their custody who were separated from adults as part of the zero tolerance initiative”.
As the processing of the migrant families continued, the department said a small number of children will remain separated as their familial relationship with the adult was dubious, because the adult claiming custody could be a threat to their safety, or if the adult was a criminal alien.
The “zero tolerance” policy, which went into effect in May, resulted in the separation of more than 2,300 children from their families. Many of the children were housed in cage-like conditions, leading to outrage across the world.
Protestors demonstrate against US immigration policy in San Diego, California.
Trump and his administration sought to leverage the outrage to force Congress, especially Democrats, to expeditiously legislate immigration reforms including enhanced border security with more funding for a proposed wall on the Mexico border, curbing family-based immigration, ending the diversity visa and switching to a merit-based system.
It didn’t work. And the outrage continued to grow, with first lady Melania Trump joining in with a rare policy intervention with an appeal for both sides to work towards a resolution.
In the end, Trump gave in and issued an executive order ending family separation. He has continued to call for immigrations reforms.
“Democrats, fix the laws. Don’t RESIST. “We are doing a far better job than Bush and Obama, but we need strength and security at the Border! Cannot accept all of the people trying to break into our Country. Strong Borders, No Crime!” he tweeted on Sunday.