The news that lawyers couldn’t find the parents of 545 migrant children separated at the border by the Trump administration back in October shocked the nation, and now it’s been revealed that the tally is actually 666. According to an email obtained by NBC News, Steven Herzog, the attorney leading reunion efforts, explains that the number is higher because the new group includes those “for whom the government did not provide any phone number.” The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) tweeted about the reveal adding, “We will search for these parents, but we need their phone numbers. After over a year, the government still hasn’t provided them.”
During his campaign, president-elect Joe Biden said he’d issue an executive order that would create a federal task force to reunite the children with their parents. During the second presidential debate, Biden confronted Trump about the migrant children and his zero-tolerance policy saying, “Their kids were ripped from their arms and separated, and now they cannot find over 500 of the sets of those parents, and those kids are alone. Nowhere to go. Nowhere to go. It’s criminal. It’s criminal.”
Thus far Biden has not decided whether separated parents will be given the opportunity to come to the U.S. to reunite with their children and pursue claims to asylum, according to two sources familiar with the incoming administration’s planning, NBC reports. The president-elect faced criticism during his time working for Barack Obama’s administration which deported 3 million undocumented immigrants over the span of eight years. Biden responded to this during the debates by saying they “made a mistake”. He’s also promised comprehensive immigration reform through Congress to create a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. in his first 100 days.