HHS and DHS scrapped the agreement earlier this year, saying it had a “chilling effect” on uniting children with potential sponsors, including parents and other family members. The updated memorandum of agreement doesn’t outline a role for ICE in the vetting process.
The latest revelations of the government’s trafficking investigations may now swing the pendulum back in the direction of tighter sponsor screens, but also could spur greater post-release focus.
“They absolutely have a responsibility to do as thorough of a check as possible; but because they can’t account for any future danger, what they can do is check in on the kid,” said Jennifer Podkul, vice president for policy and advocacy at Kids in Need of Defense. “That’s where I feel like there’s been deficiencies.”