A similar proposal was floated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the Obama administration, but HHS pushed back, saying the process could delay family reunification and possibly intimidate parents from claiming their children, according to a Reuters report from April 2016.
Asked whether they were concerned that the practice would scare parents away from claiming their children, Acting Assistant Secretary Steve Wagner said parents who do not want to claim their own children may not be fit to be parents. He added that the measure will ensure that children are matched in safe homes.
Illegal immigration by families traveling with children and by children traveling alone — often to reunite with parents and family members in the United States — has increased substantially in 2018 compared to 2017, causing the Trump administration to begin separating children who arrive with guardians and placing them into foster care. The number of unaccompanied children doubled in the first four months of 2018 from the first four months of 2017, rising to 14,805.