New Bill to Prevent Arrest of Immigrant Child Sponsors

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has moved to try and stop the Trump administration from detaining undocumented immigrants who offer to care for unaccompanied undocumented immigrant minors following a CNN report on such arrests.

The bill, which was set to be introduced on Tuesday (October 2nd, 2018), comes as the number of immigrant kids held in the custody of the U.S. government, and the time they spend in detention, are increasing, with the policies of the Trump administration at least partly responsible for the rise. The new bill would prevent the government using the undocumented status of a sponsor to deny a child being released to them and stop the Department of Homeland Security using the information to detain or even deport the undocumented potential sponsor.

Last month, CNN reported that dozens of undocumented immigrants who offered to sponsor immigrant kids were arrested between July and September by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with 70% taken into custody solely for immigration violations, prompting Florida Democrat Representative, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, to draft the legislation, describing the arrests as ‘beyond heartless’.

The Department of Health and Human Services care for undocumented immigrant minors who are either separated from their families at the border or who arrived in the US unaccompanied by an adult until a place can be found with adults in the country, usually friends or relations. Last month, an ICE official told Congress that 90% of the homes of such sponsors included undocumented immigrant adults.