ACLU Statement on DHS Proposal to Check Immigration Status of Potential Sponsors for Unaccompanied Children

June 8, 2018 3:45 pm

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WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security has proposed a rule change that would allow it to collect information concerning the potential sponsors of children who cross the border unaccompanied — and potentially use that information to arrest them. The proposal would also search and retain biometric information about the potential sponsors and people in their households.

Yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union submitted comments on the proposed rule urging DHS to reverse its plan to adopt this harmful policy.

Stephen Kang, detention attorney with the ACLU Immigrant Rights Project, had the following response:

“This proposed rule is yet another way this administration is using seemingly small changes in policy to expose children who came to this country seeking relief and protection to further harm. The government is required by law to promptly release unaccompanied children to custody settings that are in the best interest of the child, but now DHS is poised to make it harder for the Office of Refugee Resettlement to place children with sponsors. This will needlessly prolong children’s time in custody and obstruct their due process rights.

“The collection of data on potential sponsors and others also creates unnecessary security risks and paves the way for further discrimination against immigrants. We hope that DHS will uphold its obligation to take public comments into consideration when drafting the final rule, and do what is truly in the best interest of children.”

The ACLU’s comment to the proposed DHS rule can be read here.

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