H.R.1012: REUNITE Act
The REUNITE Act would immediately reunify all families and establish a permanent system of coordination between agencies and non-governmental organizations to protect detained immigrants with children. It also establishes guidelines for the performing of DNA testing and the handling of genetic information by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reunify families that were separated at the border. Specifically, the bill states that genetic testing would only be allowable after other methods, such as interviews and observed interactions between the adult and the child fail to confirm a familial relationship. Officials would also be required to gain explicit consent, destroy testing within seven days, and would be prohibited from using DNA for immigration enforcement purposes.
The legislation would also restore the Family Case Management Program (FCMP), which was a formal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) alternative to detention that operated in 2016 and 2017. The FCMP resulted in high compliance rates with immigration requirements and case outcomes. It would also establish a presumption that parents will not be deported until their child’s immigration proceeding is over, or the child turns 18.
Additionally, it would require the DHS Secretary and the HHS Secretary to establish the Office for Locating and Reuniting Children with Parents, which would be responsible for facilitating the reunification of children with families.
Finally, the bill redirects $50,000,000 in appropriations from ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) for the enforcement of these provisions.
S. 557 is the Senate companion bill.View Full Overview