October 23, 2018


Demands Sec. Azar rescind cooperation agreement between HHS and DHS that has led to sponsor deportation

Newton, MA – After visiting with unaccompanied children held at the tent city in Tornillo, Texas, Congressman Joe Kennedy III today demanded that Secretary Alex Azar immediately rescind or reform a Trump Administration policy of sharing fingerprints between the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and our country’s immigration enforcement agencies.

A Trump Administration Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed in May 2018 mandates the sharing of fingerprints ORR, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Control (CBP). This has led to dozens of sponsors being arrested by ICE and deported after coming forward to care for an unaccompanied child. It has also helped swell the number of unaccompanied minors currently in US custody — at tremendous cost to the U.S. government and in violation of the Flores settlement.

Potential sponsors for unaccompanied minors already go through extensive background checks via the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).

“The mission of ORR is to care for and protect unaccompanied children on our shores — not act as an immigration enforcement arm of our federal government,” said Kennedy. “Child after child being held in Tornillo told me that they had family in the United States willing to care for them while their immigration case proceeds. But the Administration’s attempts to stymie and scare off those who would come forward not only denies these kids a loving home, but places the growing bill for their detention squarely at the feet of the U.S. taxpayer. Secretary Azar and the Trump Administration should immediately rescind this unnecessarily and ineffective MOA so that ORR can return to its stated mission.”

To read Congressman Kennedy’s full letter, please click here. To read more about his visit to Tornillo, click here.

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For Immediate Release:
October 23, 2018 

Dan Black (202) 225-5931