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Backgrounder: Memorandum of Agreement Between DHS and HHS Emphasizes Immigration Enforcement Over Child Safety


In May 2018, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in conjunction with the agencies of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) mandating continuous information-sharing on unaccompanied immigrant children beginning when CBP or ICE takes them into custody through their release from ORR custody. This includes information on the children’s potential sponsors, usually family members, as well as anyone else living with the sponsor. The MOA represents a dramatic change from past practice—replacing the best interests of children with the operational expediency of immigration enforcement. This backgrounder, developed by the Women’s Refugee Commission and the National Immigrant Justice Center, summarizes these changes and their implications.

United States Children Migrant Asylum Rights and Justice One-pagers