The parents of undocumented immigrant minors who enter the United States may soon be forced to submit their fingerprints before they can reclaim their children. The new measures are being pushed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), but critics claim they could result in the unnecessary separation of thousands of families.
The branch of government ultimately responsible for housing immigrant minors, the US Department of Health and Services, was one of the loudest critics of the proposed changes, and made it clear that it had no intention whatsoever of changing its existing fingerprinting policy even as the proposal was formally introduced. The deputy director of human services at the organization says that placing kids with appropriate sponsors quickly is one of their main priorities and that the use of fingerprinting would likely put off many sponsors fearful they will be made use of for other purposes, like tracing undocumented immigrants in order to deport them.
ICE officials recently drafted and distributed a memo in which they expounded their scheme to widen fingerprinting from non-parents to include all parents of undocumented immigrant kids affected. They claim fingerprints would be able to be checked with the FBI to make sure of the sponsors’ identities and slow down the number of kids being handed to those with criminal records.
The Obama administration has not yet made any comment on the situation and it is uncertain how President Barack Obama would respond to the legislation if it ever makes it to his desk.