Trump administration has made a lot of changes in the immigration system in the past 18 months, and it is time for yet another change. The US government announced a few days ago that Trump administration is planning to fingerprint parents who claim custody of their children who entered the United States unaccompanied. It is aimed at ensuring that migrant children aren’t lost in the system. However, immigration attorneys feel that it is keep parents away from claiming their children because of the fear of deportation or detention.
Steven Wagner, acting assistant secretary, Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services, said that they are going to vet sponsors more thoroughly. Along with Department of Homeland Security’s help, they will be able to conduct a fingerprint-based background check on every parent sponsor. Department of Health and Human Services will be the single-handedly handling settlement of migrant children, and Department of Homeland Security will manage the legal aspects of the immigration policy.
As of now, parents do not need to submit fingerprints to get custody of their children. The new protocol will be implemented in a few weeks. Department of Homeland Security will help Department of Health and Human Services in collecting fingerprints. Federal law makes it clear that unaccompanied children can’t be imprisoned and instead should be housed in federal shelter homes until they are placed with sponsors, which are mostly close relatives, siblings, or parents.
Losing track of children
Wagner said that Department of Health and Human Services had lost track of around 1,475 children who crossed the US – Mexico border illegally and were placed with sponsors. They blamed their limited finances on their inability to track the children properly. According to a The Associated Press report, in 2016 around 24 children were placed in homes that had a history of sexual violence and assault.