The Trump administration will be remembered for the many injustices it has wrought. Chief among them: its treatment of immigrant children fleeing violence in their home countries.
The Department of Homeland Security is planning to change rules allowing undocumented immigrant children to live with relatives when they reach the United States, the Daily Beast reported Monday night.
Under the department’s new proposed rule, Immigration and Customs Enforcement would collect immigration information on potential sponsors, some of whom are themselves undocumented. Immigrants’ rights activists say the new rule would make sponsors more reluctant to come forward and take in undocumented children, for fear of deportation.
From the Daily Beast:
“The proposal has the potential to drastically expand ICE’s enforcement dragnet,” said Katie Shepherd of the American Immigration Council. “It may ultimately harm—not help—unaccompanied children whose sponsors and loved ones end up being targeted and detained by ICE due to the increased screening.”
Shepherd added that children may end up languishing in foster care or HHS shelters as a result of the rule change, at a much higher cost to U.S. taxpayers.
The department’s proposed rule would also “include biometrics for potential sponsors and/or other adult members of the potential sponsor’s household”—meaning, potentially, that ICE agents could take fingerprints or retinal scans of adult sponsors, as well as anyone else who lives with them.
DHS can put this new rule into practice without congressional approval, although there is a federally required comment period on the rule, during which the public can weigh in, until June 7. Here is the first public comment on the government’s website, from Conor Gleason:
This proposed regulation is contrary to our shared American values. Young people should have a safe and secure home. Potential sponsors vetted by ORR should not be prosecuted by DHS because it will merely result in children staying for longer periods in ORR custody. It will also further separate families and communities. This enforcement action is another example of the Trump Administration’s criminalization of immigrants and immigrant communities. It’s a disgrace.
You can let the Department of Homeland Security know what you think of the new rule here.