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Reconnecting Families Separated at the US-Mexico Border

We created a website and an online registration form that will assist thousands of individuals in finding and reuniting with their family members after being separated through the Zero Tolerance immigration policy.

Thousands of Families Separated

Client Name(s):
Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Family Reunification Task Force
Partner Name(s):
TechFlow, Eighty2degrees
Delivery Date:
September 2021

Parents were separated from their children at the US-Mexico border without a plan for reunification.

From 2017 to 2021, thousands of families were separated by the US government at the US-Mexico border under the Zero Tolerance immigration policy without a clear path for how to bring these families back together. The Biden administration sought to repair this humanitarian crisis by creating the Family Reunification Taskforce. The Task Force’s goal is to devise and facilitate a process through which qualifying separated parents, legal guardians, or children could register and receive assistance to locate and reunite with their family members in the United States.

Illustration of overlapping translucent human silhouettes in yellow, coral, blue, green, and beige.

Coforma developed, a multi-language working site and application form that will enable separated families to begin the process of finding and reuniting with one another, and receive support along the way.

Eduardo Ortiz
The Trump administration’s Zero Tolerance policy was one of the reasons I left the government and founded Coforma (previously named &Partners). One of our first projects was focused on helping document family units being separated at the US-Mexico border during the previous administration so that one day they could be reunited; that day is now. The work to repair this travesty is far from done. It’s an honor to support President Biden’s Task Force and the creation of in this milestone moment towards making things right.
Eduardo OrtizCEOCoforma

A Collaborative, Quick Approach

We worked closely with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Family Reunification Task force to build the site and make the application form available to separated families.

Thousands of families were separated indefinitely and without assistance or any process to find, contact, or reunite with their loved ones. The Family Reunification Task Force aims to solve this devastating humanitarian crisis by providing assistance to every qualifying separated family. To support this initiative, Coforma designed a website minimum viable product (MVP) using the US Web Design System (USWDS), provided content strategy, translated content into Spanish and Portuguese, and incorporated audio translations in four indigenous languages to facilitate access to this process to as wide an audience as possible. We developed the application iteratively, working openly, transparently and collaboratively with project partners throughout the life of the project. We tested the site and form with real users to understand how well it worked and identified areas we could improve the design to better assist people in registering for the reunification process.

The site is very friendly, easy to understand and navigate; it even tells you how long it’ll take to hear back after you register. It’s in Spanish even, which is one of the most important things.
Usability Test
A grid page shows the logos, icons, buttons, a warm color palette and the content layout style for the site.

Accessible, Clear, and Human

We thoughtfully designed the user experience and front end development through the use of clear language, straightforward calls to action, and a personable, non-threatening visual presentation to balance the need to rebuild trust with the user and the required legal aspects of the process.

A warm and inviting landing page presents a bar with the option of audio controls in several languages.

The site is available in multiple languages with the option of audio controls.

A Multi-Language Site

We developed the site content in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, and included audio controls in M'am, K'iche, Q'eqchi', Q'anjob'al, Portuguese, and Spanish to make the site and registration form accessible to as wide an audience as possible.

A mobile view of the site shows clear, concise information, questions, and answers that can be selected with a radial button.

Clear, easy to understand, and legally compliant information.

Clear and Legally Compliant

We leveraged plain language best practices to satisfy the users' need for clarity and ease of use while also meeting legal requirements. The form was built with specific functionality needs in mind such as multiple last names, alternative date formatting, and the use of approximate dates instead of exact dates.

Buttons and color swatches from the design system surrounding an illustration of a mother and child, embracing.

Design system for

A Human Touch

We intentionally and thoughtfully crafted a personable design system to facilitate bridging the trust gap between the user and the government, and to keep the purpose of the site at the forefront: families.

An illustration in soft tones of two overlapping shields over a slightly textured background.

A secure site, accessible even with limited bandwidth.

Accessible and Secure

We built a highly accessible and secure website taking into consideration mobile-first users with limited bandwidth and the safety of the sensitive personal information shared. The site scored a Lighthouse accessibility rating of 98.

Project Team

  • EduardoEduardo OrtizExecutive Counsel
  • AshleighAshleigh AxiosExecutive Counsel
  • AngelaAngela HopkinsContent Strategist
  • JaredJared CunhaFront-End Developer
  • YoniYoni KnollFront-End Developer
  • CeciliaCecilia RamirezContent Translator
  • MonicaMonica BassiProject Manager
  • AndrewAndrew BergeronUX Designer


  • Trello for tasks, task prioritization, and due dates

  • Zoom for communications with the team and interviews

  • Microsoft Teams for communications with client

  • Slack for continuous asynchronous communication

  • Google Drive to maintain a shared, organized folder to house final files

  • Figma, Photoshop, and Illustrator to create design artifacts

  • Mural for collaborative working sessions


  • Human-centered design

  • One-on-one user interviews in English and Spanish

  • Manual testing