April 28, 2016 -
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has submitted a proposal that would allow U.S. immigration enforcement officers to fingerprint all individuals who claim custody of youths who have entered the country illegally without adult relative, according to a report by Lawyer Herald.
Proponents of the measure said that it could prevent thousands of families from being separated from one another.
A recent report in Yahoo states that there has been a recent influx of unaccompanied Central American children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The proposal could greatly help federal agencies in handling undocumented immigrants.
According to a report by Reuters, officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said that they currently have no plans to amend the fingerprint policy.
The HHS said it is responsible for locating housing for migrant children, and that the proposal would likely postpone family reunions and breach the parent-child relationship.
“One of our goals is to place children with an appropriate sponsor as promptly as we can safely do so,” Bobby Gregg, Deputy director for children’s services at HHS’s office of refugee resettlement, told the New York Times. “And so any delay for placing the child with their parent is time that we’re keeping a parent and child separated.”
ICE officials drafted the memo in response to a Senate hearing last February, which proposed the expansion of fingerprinting practices to include parents along with non-parents.
The government department also said that it would allow fingerprints to be checked against an FBI database of criminals to verify the identities of those individuals claiming to be parents and to ensure that children are placed in the custody of those parents with criminal histories.
It remains to be seen whether the proposal, which is still in its preliminary stages, would win the support of the White House.