The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), an agency tasked with caring for unaccompanied migrant children, is reportedly sharing data with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that could allow the agency to target adults seeking to claim unaccompanied children from shelters. According to The Washington Post, the data-sharing started when the White House tried to embed ICE agents within HHS in a bid to glean information on the children's parents and relatives that could be used for deportation. While HHS blocked the move, the agency did allow ICE to collect biometric information from adults claiming migrant children from HHS shelters, according to the Post. If the adults are deemed ineligible to take the migrant child, ICE could use the information to arrest and deport the adults. The initiative was reportedly developed by top immigration adviser to President Trump, Stephen Miller.
The data-sharing could reportedly get around laws aimed at restricting the use of the refugee program for immigration enforcement and deportation. ICE spokesman Bryan Cox said sharing the information would help HHS vet the adults claiming the migrant children. HHS spokesman Mark Weber said that there were “no plans for ICE personnel to be placed at HHS.”