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Bethany says 100% of children under five in their care will be reunited with families

Child and parent holding hands

A federal judge said last month the government must reunite all migrant children under the age of five with their families today, and Bethany Christian Services says their agency has met that deadline.

In a press conference Tuesday morning, Director of Refugee and Immigrant Services Dona Abbott said, "As of this morning, 100 percent of the children in Bethany's care that were forcfully separated under the zero tolerance policy under the age of have or will be reunified today." 

Abbott credited Bethany's staff for expertly assisting the "traumatized children" in the reunification process, and added that "over a third of [the total] children who have been separated have been reunified" with their families.

Bethany President and CEO Chris Palusky added that the organization has been reuniting kids almost since the beginning of the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy.

"From the beginning, when we saw that children were being forcibly separated and they were arriving to us, we sought out hte parents. So we proactively were calling detention centers, finding where parents were, setting up calls with parents and children. And then we also set up that reunification plan with parents."

Palusky also emphasized the agency's support for solutions to the migrant crisis, including rapid reunification, alternatives to jails, and community-based care for refugee families.

Three fathers from Honduras were released from Calhoun County Jail Tuesday morning, and are waiting in Grand Rapids to be reunited with their young children.

Emma is a communications specialist with the digital team at Michigan Radio. She works across all departments at Michigan Radio, with a hand in everything from digital marketing and fundraising to graphic design and website maintenance. She also produces the station's daily newsletter, The Michigan Radio Beat.
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