September 26, 2023

A boy and a father from Honduras are detained by U.S. border guards near the U.S.-Mexico border on June 12, 2018 near Mission, Texas.

John Moore | Getty Images

The Biden administration will end a Trump-era policy that allows ICE to gather information on the immigration status of people who have signed up to care for unaccompanied migrant children, officials said Friday.

Homeland Security, Health and Human Services departments announced in a statement that they would end the 2018 agreement and issued a new memorandum promoting “the safe and timely transfer of children.”

The move comes amid an influx of unaccompanied migrant children on the southern border in US Border Patrol custody. Biden, who has pledged to roll back the Trump administration’s restrictive policies, has come under increasing pressure to tackle the situation on the border.

While most of the provisions in 2018 policy were largely limited under subsequent guidelines, administration officials said this created a “chilling effect” that discouraged family members and sponsors from coming forward for fear of deportation.

“Whatever we can do to encourage these family members and sponsors to come back sooner, we have to do,” an official said during a briefing with reporters.

The official said HHS added 200 beds last week as the centers for disease control and prevention allowed shelters to get back to work before the Covid pandemic.

More than 3,200 unaccompanied migrant children are being housed in customs and border protection facilities, NBC News reported Tuesday.

A total of about 9,000 unaccompanied migrant children crossed the border in February, according to government data checked by NBC News.

The State Department announced Wednesday that it is reintroducing an Obama-era program to allow some Central American children to legally enter the United States from their home countries.