U.S. plans to reunite more than 1,000 families separated at the border

Friday, May 7, 2021

Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, speaks on the administration's plans to reunite families.

Reuniting of Families Separated at the Border

Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. To read the transcript of the video below, click here.

The White House announced Monday it would reunite four families that U.S. officials separated at the southern border during Donald Trump’s presidency. Over 5,500 children were taken from their parents to discourage illegal immigration since July, 2017.

  •  The Trump administration adopted a policy of separating parents from their children among families that attempted to cross into the U.S. without documentation. In many cases, children were kept in U.S. custody while parents were deported.
  • Though the policy of separating families ended, more than 1,000 families remain separated.
  • The current secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, has promised to seek to reunite these families. In some cases, Homeland Security does not know where either the parents or children are now located.


Discussion Questions: Reuniting of Families Separated at the Border

Warm up questions: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • Who is being reunited and why did they come to the U.S.?
  • What are the challenges of reuniting families that have been separated, according to the secretary of Homeland Security?
  • When and Where did Central American families and young people start arriving in large numbers at the U.S. border?
  • Why does the Biden administration continue to turn families and others away at the border?
  • How has the international community, including the U.S. government, responded to the crisis in India?

Then have students share with the class or through a Learning Management System (LMS).

Focus questions:

  1. What responsibilities do you think the U.S. government has to the safety and wellbeing of people trying to cross into the United States, even if they aren’t legally permitted to do so?
  2. What responsibilities do you think the U.S. government has to undocumented children who are in the U.S. without their parents? 

Media literacy: This piece is based on an interview with a political appointee of President Joe Biden. Who else would you want to hear from to get a fuller picture of the state of immigration at the southern U.S. border?

Dig Deeper: Increase of Migrants at the Border

  • Take a look at this recent Daily News Lesson to better understand the ways the Biden administration is attempting to manage an increase of migrants at the southern border.
  • Why might a young person leave their home to travel to the U.S. alone? You can read one account here, adapted in the New York Times from the book Solito, Solita, made up of accounts of children crossing alone into the United States.


Republished with permission form PBS NewsHour Extra.