Migrant rights groups have called out an emerging trend in the US where potential sponsors coming forward to take children out of detention centers have themselves been detained. This situation tends to happen where the potential sponsors themselves do not have legal immigration status in the US. According to current practice, a sponsor needs to provide fingerprints before they are able to complete the process of getting a child – typically a relative – out of detention. It is at this point that the authorities are able to determine if the potential sponsor has current legal immigration status and take action accordingly.
Migrant rights groups have reacted with concern, stating that the US authorities’ action will only increase the likelihood of children remaining in detention for longer than necessary. Some are worried that their relatives may become too scared to show up at immigration detention facilities for fear that they themselves may be detained. The flip side of this argument is that the authorities are only enforcing the law and that illegal immigrants are not automatically to continue living as usual in the US once they have come to the attention of the authorities, even if that visibility is obtained in the context of their attempting to get a child out of detention.
The sensitive immigration debate in the US rages on.
The Guardian’s reporting of this study can be found here.