A Department of Homeland Security spokesman pushed back against a news story claiming that lawyers have been “unable” to reunite children separated from their family at the border.
It was reported Wednesday by NBC News and others that lawyers tasked by a federal judge to identify migrant families separated by the Trump administration are saying the parents of over 500 children have not been located. Additionally, reports say roughly two-thirds of those parents have been deported back to Central America without their children.
DHS directed the Washington Examiner to a statement from spokesman Chase Jennings, who posted on Twitter that the “narrative” of the articles have been “dispelled.”
“The narrative has been dispelled on several occasions,” Jennings posted. “DHS has taken every step to facilitate the reunification of these families where the parents wanted such reunification to occur. The simple fact is this: after contact has been made with the parents to reunite them with their children, many parents have refused.”
The statement continued: “In the current litigation, for example, out of the parents of 485 children who Plaintiffs’ counsel has been able to contact, they have yet to identify a single family that wants their child reunited with them in their home country of origin. The result is that the children remain in the U.S. while the parents remain in their home country. The reunification process is a whole-of Government approach involving CBP, ICE, and HHS.”
A White House spokesman gave a similar response on Wednesday, saying, “Many of them have declined to accept their children back … it’s not for lack of effort on the administration’s part.”
President Trump has drawn criticism for his “zero tolerance” policy implemented at the border that involved temporarily separating children from their parents, which was terminated two months after being implemented in 2018.