The Department of Health and Human Services, the agency that cares for unaccompanied minors who cross the border, has begun providing information to ICE to initiate removal proceedings for those individuals who do not qualify to sponsor children in HHS custody. Since the “Zero Tolerance” policy of the Trump Administration, HHS has increased scrutiny of potential sponsors to whom unaccompanied minors would be released from custody. Fingerprints and biometric information of potential sponsors are routinely collected and, under the new cooperation with ICE, provided to ICE once the person is disapproved as a sponsor. Historically HHS has refused efforts to collaborate with ICE to place potential sponsors into removal proceedings as it would likely drastically reduce the number of sponsors who would come forward and let children languish in HHS custody for a significantly longer period of time. However, under this new protocol, anyone who is deemed to not be an appropriate sponsor, they are no longer considered “potential sponsors” and their information may be sent to ICE without violating previous policies of not collaborating with ICE.
While getting children out of HHS custody and into homes of family members is essential to their well-being, it should not mean that a sponsor may face deportation. If you have questions about being a sponsor for an unaccompanied minor and how your status may be impacted, please set up a consultation with us.
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