President Biden's family separation task force is scouring through thousands of unreviewed files to determine whether the Trump administration began separating families within the first six months of coming into office.
The task force uncovered 5,600 files from the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement from Jan. 20, 2017, the day Donald Trump was sworn in as president, to July 2017. A DHS official acknowledged the task force has yet to reunite families but noted it remains committed to that goal.
"We've begun a process for reviewing and cross-checking those files," said the DHS official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity. "This is a manual process, manually going through each file, looking for clues. And it's our hope and expectation that this process will review only a few additional families. But it's important to look through them and make sure."
Concerns that the Trump administration started separating families within the first months of taking office have grown since the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General found that children had been separated from their parents during a pilot program before the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, which was first implemented in mid-2018.