The US Homeland Security Department said late Saturday the government has reunited 522 children separated from adults as part of a “Zero Tolerance” initiative and plans to reunite another 16 children over the next 24 hours.
U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that ended a policy separating migrant children from their families when they arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The department said in a statement U.S. Customs and Border Protection expects a small number of children separated for reasons other than zero tolerance would remain separated, including if the familial relationship cannot be confirmed.
A total of 2,053 minors separated from their parents are being held in facilities funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, officials said, adding that the organization is “working with relevant agency partners to foster communications and work towards reuniting every minor and every parent or guardian via well-established reunification processes.”
Currently, 17 percent of minors in HHS funded facilities were placed there as a result of the Zero Tolerance enforcement effort, and the remaining 83 percent arrived in the United States without a parent or guardian, it said.
Stories and photographs of detention centres housing migrant children have sparked widespread outcry across the United States. On Saturday, protests were held across the country calling for the government to reunite the children with their parents.
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