The Biden administration has disclosed that it is not requiring FBI fingerprint background checks of caregivers at its rapidly expanding network of emergency sites to hold thousands of immigrant teenagers.
The administration said on Saturday March 27, 2021, that to get children out of overcrowded and often unsuitable Border Patrol sites, President Joe Biden’s team is turning to a measure used by previous administrations: tent camps, convention centers and other huge facilities operated by private contractors and funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Biden administration announced that in March it would open eight new emergency sites across the South West, adding 15,000 new beds, more than doubling the size of its existing system.
“These emergency sites don’t have to be licensed by state authorities or provide the same services as permanent HHS facilities. They also cost far more, an estimated $775 per child per day,” the administration said in a statement.
“And to staff the sites quickly, the Biden administration has waived vetting procedures intended to protect minors from potential harm.
“Staff and volunteers directly caring for children at new emergency sites don’t have to undergo FBI fingerprint checks, which use criminal databases not accessible to the public and can overcome someone who changes a name or uses a false identity,” it added.
HHS issued a statement Friday saying that direct care staff and volunteers “must pass public record criminal background checks.”
The agency said those giving direct care are supervised by federal employees or others who have passed fingerprint-based background checks.