Family Reunification

Why Are Families Separated?

In April 2018, the United States government announced the “zero tolerance” immigration policy. As a result, migrant families were forcibly separated at the U.S. - Mexico border. The government tore children away from their parents, sending them to separate facilities. Many children could not contact their parents for weeks or months. Traumatized parents were imprisoned and rushed through the court system. Many were denied a fair chance to explain if they were fleeing persecution and needed protection in the U.S. – a right protected under U.S. asylum law.  Others signed “voluntary departure” papers believing that was the only way they would see their children. Thousands of families were ripped apart, and hundreds of parents were deported without their children. While we knew that families had been separated during pilot programs starting as early as July 2017, the government wasn’t forced to reveal  the full scope of its family separation policies until late 2019.

Click our interactive timelines to learn about our work reuniting families:
April 2018
July 2017
Aug.-Dec. 2018
Feb. -
June - Oct. 
Jan. 2019
Aug. 2020
- Present
How is Justice in Motion helping separated families? 

The United States government deported hundreds of separated parents with no plan or intention to reunite them with their children. At Justice in Motion, we know that migrant rights cannot stop at the border. We mobilized our on-the-ground Defender Network of human rights lawyers and organizations across Mexico and Central America to collaborate with U.S. lawyers and help find the parents deported without their children. Justice in Motion remains committed to reaching every family to make sure they have access to any available paths to reunification and that they are connected with resources to pursue justice and healing

How can I help?

The United States government tore migrant families apart. With your help, Justice in Motion and our Defender Network will continue to help these families pursue justice and healing.​Together, we can ensure that these families are not forgotten and that they have access to the resources and services they need. Your donation will enable us to accompany families over the long struggle to regain the unity and dignity that were taken from them.


​Please donate today so that we can continue to find and support these families. Your gift will also strengthen our other programs to secure justice for migrants through our unique model of international collaboration.