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Parents of unaccompanied minors undergo stricter background check

If a parent claims custody of a migrant child who entered the country alone illegally, that person will be fingerprinted. In most cases, children who are detained are eventually released to adult sponsors in the country pending their court date. The Department of Health and Human Services is currently responsible for helping children find housing. According to the Department of Homeland Security , the new policy will begin in a few weeks.

The government says that the change will make it possible to better vet those who agree to sponsor a child. A government representative said that if a parent is in the country illegally, that person may not be the appropriate sponsor for the child. That was in response to an assertion that parents may fear claiming their children out of fear that they could be deported themselves.

Current policy dictates that all sponsors must go through a background check. However, only those who are not a child's parent have to be fingerprinted. An exception is made if there is reason to believe that a parent who is a sponsor is a danger to the child. Current policy also does not disqualify a person from being a sponsor based on their own immigration status alone, but immigration information is entered into a database.

Immigrant parents who are looking to claim custody of their children may want to do so with the help of an attorney. Having an advocate who generally understands immigration law may be helpful in obtaining a favorable outcome in a matter. This might mean that a parent obtains custody without also facing deportation proceedings. If that does occur, legal counsel may help a person obtain permanent resident status or apply for asylum in an effort to remain in the United States.

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