The Biden administration has announced that it is formally canceling a Trump era policy that allowed federal personnel to obtain information about the immigration status of individuals who sought to care for unaccompanied migrant children in federal custody. Agents were set up to be able to use this information for potential deportations of the caregivers, and those circumstances obviously created a cloud of fear around the process of picking up unaccompanied migrant children from federal custody. In turn, that fear could compound issues like overcrowding because of left behind children.
The Biden admin is ending a Trump-era policy that let U.S. border agents collect information about the immigration status of people who came forward to care for unaccompanied migrant children so it could potentially deport them. https://t.co/HVxMq37UR6
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 12, 2021
The policy was originally started in 2018, and, as summarized by NBC, it “allowed the Department of Homeland Security to identify and deport those would-be caregivers who were in the country illegally.” The policy “meant that immigrant parents who came to the U.S. and then later sent for their children to cross the border faced possible deportation,” the NBC report adds. The policy was “largely disabled through subsequent directives,” according to the outlet, but the cloud of fear remained, and Biden administration officials said this week that formally ending the antagonistic policy “will have a real impact in terms of people trusting us and coming forward.”
As of this weekend, high numbers of unaccompanied migrant children are in federal custody. On Friday, NBC reported that facilities under the purview of the Department of Health and Human Services were “at capacity.” Antagonistic Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) have spun grand tales of the supposed long-term negative impacts of the Biden administration’s approach to immigration instead of meaningfully engaging with Democrats to help formulate immigration reform policies. In a recent belligerent opinion piece published by Fox News, Graham claimed that “Most of these individuals claiming asylum at the border never show up for a court hearing,” which is a lie. In fact, the overwhelming majority of migrants do show up for hearings.
The Biden administration has already moved to undo Trump era immigration policies like the so-called Remain in Mexico program that forced asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico while their claims were processed in the United States.