Photo: Reynaldo Leal for The Texas Tribune

The Trump Administration’s family separation policy is a stain on our nation’s history. As we have stated over and over again, it is a policy that directly harms children and amounts to child abuse. When President Biden took office, he indicated that ending this horrific practice would be a top priority of his administration.

In an executive order issued less than a month after taking office, the President stated that the policy of his Administration is to “respect and value the integrity of families seeking to enter the United States.” He established a Family Reunification Task Force whose mandate is to identify and facilitate the reunification of families separated during the Trump Administration and develop recommendations to prevent family separation from happening again. In response to a public call for recommendations on how the government could  prevent future family separation, First Focus and our supporters urged the Administration to: 

  • Pursue accountability for separated families; 
  • Issue guidance based on rights to family unity and due process; 
    Eliminate all other deterrence-based policies that result in family separation; and 
  • Put in place standards, processes, and entities to ensure all government policies are based on a “best interests of the child” standard. 

And yet, family separation continues under the Biden Administration.  

Filipe, an 11-year-old boy from Columbia, just celebrated his birthday in government custody after being separated from his parents for over six months. Filipe and his parents, Victoria and Anton, fled Columbia after his mother was persecuted for exercising her legal rights. When they requested asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, border agents took Filipe from his parents without allowing him to say goodbye and charged his parents with a misdemeanor offense for failing to report to a formal border crossing point. Today, the entire family remains in detention, separated from each other.  

No child should be calculating the days, minutes, or seconds they’ve been away from their parents. And no family should be forcefully separated. First Focus is proud to join a diverse coalition of advocates calling for Filipe and his parents to be released and reunited and that the Biden Administration truly commit to keeping families together.  

Our partners at the National Immigrant Justice Center are leading this call for Filipe and his family to be released from detention and reunited. Please join us in standing with Filipe and his family by signing and sharing this petition for their reunification and release.