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Hirono Statement on Trump Administration’s Announcement that it Will End Policy that Lengthens Incarceration of Unaccompanied Minors

Senator Mazie K. Hirono issued the following statement after the Trump Administration announced it would end its policy of requiring fingerprinting of all adult members in the households of potential sponsors for unaccompanied minor immigrants to the United States:

“Last weekend, I visited Tornillo – a tent city housing 2,700 unaccompanied children from across the southern border. I saw how the Trump administration made a dire situation even worse by requiring fingerprinting of every adult in the household of potential sponsors before these incarcerated children could be released. This requirement was not only unnecessary, but had a chilling effect by instilling a fear of deportation in mixed-status sponsor households.

“Thousands of children have been incarcerated for months as they wait for sponsors to be cleared. Mental health experts have repeatedly warned that the longer children are kept in these situations, the more emotional damage occurs. Thus, our goal regarding unaccompanied minors must be to place these minors with appropriate sponsors as quickly as possible.

“Today, the Department of Health and Human Services announced with little fanfare that it was changing this damaging fingerprinting policy. I welcome today’s announcement. Sadly, this policy – now thankfully changed – is just one of the many assaults on immigrants perpetrated by the Trump administration. We must continue to shine a light on Donald Trump’s destructive immigration policies, and I will continue to do so.”