The Obama administration is prohibiting anyone from asking for the immigration status of the parents or family members who are picking up illegal immigrant children from detention centers.
At a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Health and Human Services Acting Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families Mark Greenberg said that even if Obama administration officials knew illegal immigrant children were being released to other illegal immigrants, they would consider the “totality of the circumstances” and release the children to them.
But when pressed by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Greenberg admitted, “We do not verify the immigration status of the individual.”
Greenberg said that is the policy of the Obama administration. Coburn noted that if a child is released to other illegal immigrants, the likelihood that they will “bring that child to a deportation hearing” will be “remarkably diminished.”
Greenberg also said that the Department of Health and Human Services does not keep track of whether the illegal immigrant children ultimately show up to their hearings, saying that is the job of the Department of Justice.
“We do not play that role,” Greenberg said, before emphasizing that it was his department’s job to identify the setting that is in the child’s best interest and take into consideration the safety of the child, the safety of the community and the potential risk of flight.
At least 57,000 illegal immigrant children, mostly from Central America, have unlawfully crossed the border since October of last year, and officials estimate that at least 160,000 more will do so next year. The number of illegal crossings has spiked since President Barack Obama unilaterally enacted his temporary amnesty program for certain DREAMers already present in the United States.