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Wed Feb 10, 2021, 02:29 PM Feb 2021

Biden admin to name refugee advocate director of task force to reunite separated families

WASHINGTON — The White House is expected to select Michelle Brané of the Women's Refugee Commission as the executive director of the task force to reunite migrant families separated by the Trump administration, three sources familiar with the decision tell NBC News.

The selection of Brané, director of migrant rights and justice programs at the Women's Refugee Commission, is welcome news to the immigration advocate community, as most of the task force is made of government officials.

"If selected, Michelle would be a fantastic choice. She would bring deep expertise on the issues and the perfect mixture of passion and common sense," said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project.

The Women's Refugee Committee is currently part of the steering committee tasked by a federal judge with finding and reuniting more than 600 migrant children with their parents. The families were separated under the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy in 2018 and in pilot programs prior to the official and short-lived imposition of the policy. Nearly two-thirds of the parents have been deported, lawyers estimate.

As executive director, Brané will oversee the inter-agency task force's day-to-day operations as it seeks to find and reunite the children and parents, according to another source familiar with the role.


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