Washington, DC – In advance of today’s House Homeland Security Committee hearing, “Examining Title 42 and the Need to Restore Asylum at the Border,” KIND urges the Biden Administration to act now to ensure the orderly and humane processing of children at the border. Last week, KIND praised the Administration’s decision to end Title 42, noting that additional steps are required to protect children entering the United States seeking safety, support family unity, and facilitate the safe release of children to sponsors.
“The termination of Title 42, while immensely welcome, is just the first step in ensuring appropriate reception and treatment of children at the U.S.-Mexico border,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “The Administration must also reopen the ports of entry to allow unaccompanied children and others seeking protection to request humanitarian relief at border crossings.”
In conjunction with these overdue changes, the Biden Administration has an immediate opportunity to implement additional measures to ensure appropriate processing of arriving unaccompanied children and other protection seekers.
KIND urges the Biden Administration to hire child welfare professionals to administer screenings and care of children in Customs and Border Protection custody and co-locate specialists from the Office of Refugee Resettlement with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials to expedite the safe release of children to a sponsor. These measures would not only improve child safety and reduce unnecessary family separations, but they would also enhance operational efficiency during the processing of refugees.
Notably, the FY 2022 omnibus appropriations legislation provided $14.5 million to DHS to hire licensed child welfare professionals at border facilities. Despite this directive, however, the Administration has yet to publicly indicate that these professionals will factor into its border reception plans.
“It is time to reimagine our border policies to address current challenges and take advantage of opportunities to strengthen the U.S. immigration system while staying true to our commitment to child protection and family unity. There’s no time to delay in implementing these much-needed steps.”
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