US’s ICE mulling fingerprinting for child sponsors
27 April 2016 13:49 GMT

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has said it may start fingerprinting the parents and guardians who want to claim migrant children illegally entering the country.

During January 2014 and April 2015, some 31,000 parents, relatives or sponsors claimed children illegally entering U.S. from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Meanwhile, in the six months through March 2016, almost 28,000 unaccompanied children were apprehended crossing into the United States.

ICE says that fingerprints would mean that these people would be checked against an FBI database of criminals to verify the identities of people who say they are parents while ensuring that children do not go to parents who have criminal histories.

The relatives claiming custody of children save them from the deportation procedure. Under current law, the child’s birth certificate or DNA tests are mandatory to prove the relationship between the child and the custodian.

However, Officials at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is ultimately responsible for finding housing for migrant children, told Reuters they have no plans to change fingerprinting policy.

They said the proposal -- made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in an internal memo seen by Reuters -- would delay family reunions and infringe upon the parent-child relationship.

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