ICE and HHS officials say the information shared with immigration enforcement agents would be used to check if the adults had a criminal record or other “red flags,” the Post reported.
ICE spokesman Bryan Cox told the newspaper that ICE would help HHS ensure children are not handed over to sponsors until they have been “thoroughly vetted.” Cox also defended the program’s legality, saying that if a potential sponsor’s application is denied, then they are no longer considered a sponsor or potential sponsor and therefore open to arrest.
He acknowledged that the program could leave children in government shelters for longer, but maintained thorough screening “should take precedence over speed of placement to what may ultimately be an unsafe environment for the child.” The infographic below, provided by Statista, shows the states where ICE detains the most migrants.
HHS spokesman Mark Weber told the Post that no ICE agents are currently stationed with the ORR and there are “no plans” for them to be placed at the agency. ICE and HSS have been contacted for additional comment.
The latest data from the ORR, from October, said approximately 4,200 children were in the care of the government. Unaccompanied migrant children spent an average 57 days in ORR custody, according to data from September this year. That figure was down from a recent high of 93 days in November last year.