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Biden ending Trump policy that allowed migrant kids’ sponsors to be arrested by ICE


Joe Biden’s administration will roll back Trump-era policy that allowed undocumented immigrants to be arrested by ICE when they came to pick up unaccompanied kids

  • President Joe Biden’s administration is scrapping a Trump-era policy that allowed sponsors of unaccompanied kids to be arrested by ICE 
  • In 2018, the Trump administration tightened up the screening process for adults who stepped forward to sponsor children who had traveled to the U.S. alone 
  • An agreement between HHS and ICE caused fewer children to be released from government custody to a family member or sponsor
  • An ICE official testified in October 2018 that the agency had arrested dozens of adults who came forward to take care of kids in HHS custody 
  • ‘The 2018 MOU and the policies of the Trump administration, overall, really created a chilling effect,’ a Biden senior administration official said Friday 
  • The Biden team announced that there will ‘not be any immigration enforcement consequences for a family member or sponsor’ who comes forward  

President Joe Biden‘s administration on Friday will roll back a Trump-era policy that allowed undocumented immigrants to be arrested when they came to pick up unaccompanied children. 

‘There will not be any immigration enforcement consequences for a family member or sponsor who comes forward to be united with an unaccompanied child in our care,’ a senior administration official told reporters Friday on a briefing call. 

In the spring of 2018, the Trump administration tightened up the screening process – including getting Immigration and Customs Enforcement involved – for adults who stepped forward to sponsor children who traveled into the United States alone.   

President Joe Biden’s administration is scrapping a Trump-era agreement between HHS and ICE that had allowed undocumented family members and sponsors of unaccompanied children who had crossed the border and were in U.S. custody to be arrested by ICE

Dareli Matamoros, a girl from Honduras, holds a sign asking President Biden to let her in during a migrant demonstration in Tijuana, Mexico demanding clearer United States migration policies

Dareli Matamoros, a girl from Honduras, holds a sign asking President Biden to let her in during a migrant demonstration in Tijuana, Mexico demanding clearer United States migration policies 

This led to a much smaller number of children being released from Health and Human Services custody to a family member or sponsor, CNN reported in September 2018

The following month, a senior official from ICE, Matthew Albence, testified before Congress and revealed that after HHS and ICE signed a memorandum of agreement to give background checks to sponsors of unaccompanied children, ICE arrested 41 people who came forward. 

This memorandum is what the Biden administration is spiking Friday. 

CNN found that of the potential sponsors arrested, 70 per cent were straightforward immigration violations – meaning the sponsors were found to be undocumented immigrants. 

‘The 2018 MOU and the policies of the Trump administration, overall, really created a chilling effect, where family members and sponsors were afraid to come forward for fear of being deported,’ a senior Biden White House official said. 

‘And when we look at the children in our care about 90 per cent of them are placed with a family member or a sponsor and whatever we can do to encourage those family members and sponsors to come forward more quickly we need to be doing,’ the official added. 

The Biden administration is taking heat for the influx of migrants coming across the U.S.-Mexico border, with more than 100,000 crossings taking place in February alone. 

Droves of these migrants are unaccompanied minors, which the new administration – in contrast to Trump – won’t send back. 

That has led to a crush for space – as children are supposed to be removed from Customs and Border Patrol facilities and into HHS’s care within 72 hours.  

NPR reported Thursday that some 3,000 children are in CBP custody, which are prison-like facilities as opposed to the more dorm-like set-ups available through HHS.  

The announcement Friday is meant to unstick the bottleneck situation that’s currently occurring. 

‘It sends a really strong signal that the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Health and Human Services, are not involved immigration enforcement,’ a senior administration official said.  ‘We are a child welfare agency, we are not an immigration enforcement agency. And this makes really clear that this administration prioritizes uniting a child with their family member or sponsor.’ 

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