Caregivers at migrant sites waived from FBI checks

Caregivers at migrant sites waived from FBI checks
© Customs and Border Protection

The Biden administration is reportedly forgoing FBI fingerprint background checks for caregivers at emergency sites holding unaccompanied migrant teenagers.

As the Associated Press reports, the administration has turned to using tent camps, conventions centers and other large facilities to add more than 15,000 beds and doubling the existing system's size. In order to quickly staff these facilities, the Biden administration has waived the vetting system designed to protect minors from potential harm, the AP reports.

Staff and volunteers who directly interact with children are not being required to undergo FBI fingerprint checks, which can bypass a name change and access criminal databases not available to the public. There are currently more than 18,000 children in U.S. custody.

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The outlet notes that emergency sites such as these are not required to be licensed by state authorities or provide the same services as permanent facilities, though they do cost more per child per day at $775.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) told the AP that staff and volunteers still “must pass public record criminal background checks" which take less time and are less reliable to provide correct information.

Caretakers are supervised by those who have passed the FBI's fingerprint tests, HHS said, adding, "In the Emergency Intake Sites, HHS is implementing the standards of care used for children in an emergency response setting."

However, child care experts and state authorities have raised concerns.

The district attorney in Midland, Texas, Laura Nodolf, told the AP that without fingerprint tests, "we truly do not know who the individual is who is providing direct care.” An emergency site had opened in Midland this month.

“That’s placing the children under care of HHS in the path, potentially, of a sex offender,” Nodolf added. “They are putting these children in a position of becoming potential victims.”

During his first press conference on Thursday, President BidenJoe BidenChina eyes military base on Africa's Atlantic coast: report Biden orders flags be flown at half-staff through Dec. 9 to honor Dole Biden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package MORE said no children should be in border facilities "longer than 72 hours,” though reports have indicated that hundreds of children have remained in custody longer than is legally permitted.

The Biden administration has faced growing criticism from lawmakers and the media for the alleged conditions inside border facilities as well as for not allowing media inside the facilities. White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiUS expected to announce diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics soon: report Joe Biden: The Brian Williams presidency Biden plan for free at-home tests faces hurdles MORE said on Sunday that reporters will be permitted inside in the near future.