Text: H.R.6594 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (07/26/2018)

 
[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 6594 Introduced in House (IH)]

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115th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 6594

To reunite families separated at or near ports of entry, and for other 
                               purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             July 26, 2018

 Mr. Espaillat (for himself, Ms. Bonamici, Mr. Gutierrez, Ms. Jayapal, 
  Ms. Clarke of New York, Mr. Serrano, Mr. Nadler, Mr. Grijalva, Ms. 
 Velazquez, Ms. Moore, Ms. Meng, Mr. Johnson of Georgia, Ms. Wasserman 
Schultz, Ms. Norton, Mr. Sires, Mrs. Napolitano, Mr. Danny K. Davis of 
 Illinois, Mr. Lewis of Georgia, Mr. Gallego, Mr. Smith of Washington, 
  Mr. Vela, Ms. Schakowsky, Ms. Lofgren, Mr. McGovern, Mr. Soto, Mr. 
 Khanna, Mr. Brown of Maryland, Mr. Beyer, Ms. Roybal-Allard, Mr. Gene 
Green of Texas, Ms. Brownley of California, Mr. Raskin, Mr. Cohen, and 
Mr. Cummings) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
                       Committee on the Judiciary

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To reunite families separated at or near ports of entry, and for other 
                               purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Reunite Every Unaccompanied Newborn 
Infant, Toddler and other children Expeditiously Act'' or the ``REUNITE 
Act''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Apprehended parent or legal guardian.--The term 
        ``apprehended parent or legal guardian'' means an alien who--
                    (A) is 18 years of age or older;
                    (B) is the parent or legal guardian of an alien 
                child; and
                    (C) was apprehended by DHS, the Department of 
                Justice, or any other entity authorized to enforce 
                section 275 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 
                U.S.C. 1325).
            (2) Border.--The term ``border'' means an international 
        border of the United States.
            (3) Child.--The term ``child'' means an alien who--
                    (A) has not reached 18 years of age; and
                    (B) has no permanent immigration status in the 
                United States.
            (4) DHS.--The term ``DHS'' means the Department of Homeland 
        Security.
            (5) HHS.--The term ``HHS'' means the Department of Health 
        and Human Services.

SEC. 3. REUNIFICATION OF SEPARATED FAMILIES.

    (a) Rulemaking.--
            (1) Rule.--Not later than 10 days after the date of the 
        enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security and 
        the Secretary of Health and Human Services, after immediate 
        consultation with humanitarian organizations, child welfare 
        organizations, State child welfare agencies, and States 
        contiguous with the border with Mexico, shall promulgate and 
        publish a rule through a direct final rule that specifically 
        describes the coordinated efforts that DHS and HHS will 
        undertake to aid an apprehended parent or legal guardian in 
        locating and reuniting with any children separated from them at 
        or near the port of entry, or within 100 miles of the border, 
        pursuant to applicable law.
            (2) Development; services; publication.--The rule 
        promulgated pursuant to paragraph (1) shall--
                    (A) be developed to protect the best interests of 
                affected children;
                    (B) describe all pro bono or government-funded 
                services, including immigration services, available for 
                apprehended parents and legal guardians or affected 
                children; and
                    (C) be made publicly available in writing and on 
                the websites of DHS and HHS.
    (b) Coverage of Joint Rule.--The rule published pursuant to 
subsection (a) shall outline the coordinated efforts of DHS and HHS, 
including efforts--
            (1) to develop and conduct family tracing procedures, in 
        cooperation with nongovernmental experts in child welfare best 
        practices;
            (2) to maintain a functional, accessible, frequent, and no-
        cost means for apprehended parents and legal guardians to 
        contact their child through a telephone hotline or visual 
        conferencing--
                    (A) to obtain daily-updated information about the 
                location of their child and all scheduled immigration 
                proceedings for their child; and
                    (B) to set up opportunities to speak with their 
                child not fewer than 3 times per week, including at 
                least once by video;
            (3) to facilitate substantial daily access of 
        nongovernmental case workers, child advocates, and legal 
        counsel to children separated from their apprehended parents 
        and legal guardians to represent these children's best 
        interests in custody decisions and immigration proceedings;
            (4) to provide for humanitarian organizations and State and 
        local child welfare agencies in the jurisdictions in which the 
        children are located to conduct unannounced, independent weekly 
        inspections of all DHS and HHS facilities at which children who 
        are separated from their apprehended parents or legal guardians 
        are in custody;
            (5) to coordinate with the Department of State and 
        embassies and consulates of foreign governments to locate 
        apprehended parents and legal guardians of children who have 
        departed from the United States;
            (6) to provide clear notice to apprehended parents and 
        legal guardians of their legal rights, including--
                    (A) their parental and guardianship rights with 
                respect to their child who has been designated as an 
                unaccompanied alien child; and
                    (B) their right to designate another parent, legal 
                guardian, or other qualified adult custodian to sponsor 
                and care for such child;
            (7) to facilitate information sharing by apprehended 
        parents and legal guardians about any arrangements to depart 
        the United States with their consulate, their child, their 
        child's case worker, legal counsel, child advocate, and other 
        adult custodians in advance of their departure;
            (8) to provide apprehended parents and legal guardians with 
        order of deportation or removal access to nongovernmental 
        organizations providing assistance with locating and reunifying 
        with their child;
            (9) to provide cost-free transportation of children 
        separated from their apprehended parents or legal guardians to 
        reunite with them or another parent, legal guardian, or other 
        qualified adult custodian to which the children consent;
            (10) to establish a recordkeeping system that will maintain 
        information to aid the reunification of every child separated 
        from an apprehended parent or legal guardian;
            (11) to provide free telephone calls between apprehended 
        parents or legal guardians and their child;
            (12) to provide legal counsel to children separated from 
        their apprehended parents or legal guardians and to ensure that 
        every such child is represented by a licensed attorney; and
            (13) to otherwise assist with the reunification of 
        separated families.
    (c) Written Notification.--Shortly after the rule is published 
pursuant to subsection (a), the Secretary of Homeland Security, the 
Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Attorney General shall 
provide each apprehended parent or legal guardian who has been 
separated from his or her child written notice, in English, Spanish, or 
another language understandable by the parent or legal guardian, upon 
request, of any rules or guidance that may assist them in their efforts 
to locate and reunify with their child.
    (d) Reunification Required.--DHS and HHS shall ensure immediate 
reunification of children that remain separated from their apprehended 
parent or legal guardian.
    (e) Other Requirements.--DHS and HHS shall--
            (1) issue a privacy impact assessment related to the use of 
        DNA testing under section 4; and
            (2) establish a process for redressing violations of the 
        requirements under this section.
    (f) Exemptions.--DHS and HHS may not reunite an apprehended parent 
or legal guardian with their child under this section if--
            (1) the child has been determined to be a victim of 
        trafficking, or is at significant risk of becoming a victim of 
        trafficking, by that apprehended parent or legal guardian, as 
        determined by a Chief Border Patrol Agent or Customs and Border 
        Protection Area Port Director in their official and undelegated 
        capacity;
            (2) the child appears to be in danger of abuse or neglect 
        at the hands of the apprehended parent or legal guardian;
            (3) the child is a danger to himself, herself, or others, 
        as determined by a State court or an official from a State or 
        county child welfare agency in his or her official and 
        undelegated capacity; or
            (4) there is a strong likelihood that the adult is not the 
        apprehended parent or legal guardian of the child.

SEC. 4. DNA TESTING.

    (a) Use of Other Techniques.--Before utilizing DNA testing to 
determine family relationships, DHS and HHS shall use other techniques 
commonly utilized by United States courts for determining family 
relationships, including official documents, representations from a 
witness, parent, relative, or child, and observations of interactions 
between the adult and the child.
    (b) DNA Testing.--
            (1) In general.--DNA testing may not be required as a 
        condition of reunification if alternative means of 
        demonstrating a familial relationship have been established. If 
        reasonable suspicions remain about a familial relationship 
        after exhausting the techniques referred to in subsection (a), 
        DNA testing may be used.
            (2) Protocols.--DHS and HHS shall develop protocols for 
        establishing a familial relationship if an individual does not 
        want to consent to DNA testing or may not have a biological 
        relationship with a child.
            (3) Type of test.--Whenever DNA testing is used, DHS and 
        HHS shall use the least privacy-invasive type of DNA test 
        available to confirm the claimed relationship and may not 
        charge the child or apprehended parent or legal guardian for 
        the costs of conducting such testing.
            (4) Consent.--DHS and HHS shall--
                    (A) obtain the consent of any individual older than 
                18 years of age before conducting a DNA test;
                    (B) make every effort to obtain the consent of a 
                legal guardian before conducting a DNA test on anyone 
                younger than 18 years of age; and
                    (C) destroy DNA samples as soon as possible and not 
                later than 7 days after completing the required DNA 
                matching tests to minimize any potential misuse of 
                genetic information collected under this subsection.
    (c) Protection of Information.--
            (1) In general.--If DNA testing is used for the purposes of 
        reunification, DHS and HHS shall ensure the protection of 
        privacy, genetic data, and personal information of children, 
        parents, all individuals being tested, and their relatives.
            (2) Other uses prohibited.--DHS, HHS, and private entities 
        may only access, use, or store any personal DNA information 
        collected under this subsection for family reunification 
        purposes and are prohibited from sharing any such information 
        with Federal agencies other than those carrying out the 
        reunification process. Information collected under this section 
        may not be used by the Federal Government for any other 
        purpose, including criminal or immigration enforcement.
    (d) DNA Match.--
            (1) Reunification.--As soon as a DNA match is identified, 
        DHS and HHS shall reunite family members as expeditiously as 
        possible.
            (2) No match; no consent.--A refusal to consent to a DNA 
        test or the failure to identify a match between a child and an 
        apprehended parent may not be used as a basis for concluding 
        that there is no familial relationship between such child and 
        such parent if--
                    (A) the familial relationship is not biological; or
                    (B) the familial relationship may be established 
                through alternative means.

SEC. 5. ENHANCED PROTECTIONS FOR SEPARATE FAMILIES.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish 
secure alternative programs that incorporate case management services 
in each field office of DHS to ensure appearances at immigration 
proceedings and public safety.
    (b) Alternatives to Detention.--
            (1) Contract authority.--The Secretary of Homeland Security 
        shall contract with nongovernmental, community-based 
        organizations to conduct screening of detainees, provide 
        appearance assistance services, and operate community-based 
        supervision programs. Secure alternatives shall offer a 
        continuum of supervision mechanisms and options, including 
        community support, depending on an assessment of each 
        individual's circumstances. The Secretary may contract with 
        nongovernmental organizations to implement secure alternatives 
        that maintain custody over the alien.
            (2) Eligibility determination.--
                    (A) Release.--The Secretary of Homeland Security 
                shall release each apprehended parent or legal guardian 
                on recognizance, parole, or bond, or permit such parent 
                or legal guardian to participate in an alternative to 
                detention program, such as the Family Case Management 
                Program authorized under subsection (c), unless the 
                Secretary demonstrates that such participation would 
                create a substantial risk that the apprehended parent 
                or legal guardian is likely to cause harm to himself, 
                herself, or others.
                    (B) Burden of proof.--In order to demonstrate that 
                continued detention is necessary, the Secretary shall 
                produce clear and convincing evidence of risk factors, 
                including credible and individualized information.
                    (C) Appeal.--Not later than 72 hours after the 
                Secretary determines that an apprehended parent or 
                legal guardian is ineligible for an alternative to 
                detention program under this subsection, the parent or 
                legal guardian shall be provided with an opportunity to 
                appeal such determination in a hearing before an 
                immigration judge.
    (c) Restoration of the Family Case Management Program.--
            (1) In general.--Not later than 7 days after the date of 
        the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security 
        shall restore the Family Case Management Program, which shall 
        provide community supervision and community support services, 
        including case management services, appearance services, and 
        screening of aliens who have been detained, to be run through a 
        contract with a not-for-profit entity.
            (2) Contract.--Any contract for programming or services 
        described in paragraph (1) shall be awarded to a not-for-profit 
        organization with demonstrated expertise in meeting the areas 
        specified in paragraph (1).
    (d) Unaccompanied Alien Child Designation.--The Secretary of 
Homeland Security shall treat a child who has been separated from an 
apprehended parent or legal guardian and has been designated as an 
unaccompanied alien child for the duration of his or her immigration 
proceedings.
    (e) Automatic Stay of Removal of Apprehended Parents and Legal 
Guardians During Child's Immigration Proceedings.--Until the earlier of 
the date on which the child's immigration proceedings are concluded or 
the date on which the child reaches 18 years of age, the Secretary of 
Homeland Security may not remove an apprehended parent or legal 
guardian of such child from the United States unless the apprehended 
parent or legal guardian, after being afforded the opportunity for 
legal consultation, agrees to removal.

SEC. 6. CONFIDENTIALITY.

    (a) In General.--Except as provided in subsection (b), the 
Secretary of Homeland Security may not use information obtained or 
recorded pursuant to this Act to assist in immigration enforcement 
actions taken against any sponsor, potential sponsor, custodian, 
potential custodian, or household member of a child or apprehended 
parent or legal guardian.
    (b) Exception.--Subsection (a) does not apply to the use of 
information described in that subsection about a particular sponsor, 
potential sponsor, custodian, potential custodian, or household member 
for purposes of a law enforcement investigation related to--
            (1) forced labor or human trafficking under section 1589, 
        1590, or 1591 of title 18, United States Code; or
            (2) child exploitation under section 2251, 2251A, 2252, or 
        2252A of title 18, United States Code.

SEC. 7. ESTABLISHMENT OF OFFICE FOR LOCATING AND REUNITING CHILDREN 
              WITH APPREHENDED PARENTS OR LEGAL GUARDIANS.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary of Homeland Security, the Attorney 
General, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (referred to 
collectively in this section as the ``Secretaries'') shall jointly 
establish an interagency office, which shall be known as the ``Office 
for Locating and Reuniting Children with Parents'' (referred to in this 
section as the ``Office'') and shall be responsible for expediting and 
facilitating the reunification of children and apprehended parents or 
legal guardians after entering the United States.
    (b) Duties.--The Office shall--
            (1) expeditiously implement guidance designated for its 
        jurisdiction;
            (2) establish 24-hour priority data and information 
        communication networks between HHS, DHS, and the Department of 
        Justice; and
            (3) identify and immediately inform Congress if the Office 
        determines that insufficient appropriations, or any other 
        statutory or regulatory condition hinders the safe and timely 
        reunion of separated children with their apprehended parents or 
        legal guardians.
    (c) Report.--The Office shall submit a weekly report to Congress 
that includes--
            (1) the number and location of children in the physical 
        custody of DHS or HHS who have been separated from an 
        apprehended parent or legal guardian;
            (2) the number of such children who have been physically 
        reunified with their apprehended parent or legal guardian;
            (3) the physical location of apprehended parents and legal 
        guardians who have yet to be reunited with their child, 
        including the apprehended parents and legal guardians who have 
        been deported without their child;
            (4) the number of such children who have not yet been 
        physically reunited with their apprehended parent or legal 
        guardian; and
            (5) an outline of the progress made in implementing the 
        rule published pursuant to section 3(a).

SEC. 8. SAVINGS PROVISIONS.

    (a) Federal Law.--Nothing in this Act may be construed to supersede 
or modify--
            (1) the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection 
        Act of 2008 (8 U.S.C. 1232 et seq.);
            (2) the Stipulated Settlement Agreement filed in the United 
        States District Court for the Central District of California on 
        January 17, 1997 (CV 85-4544-RJK) (commonly known as the 
        ``Flores Settlement Agreement'');
            (3) the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-296); 
        or
            (4) any applicable Federal child welfare law, including the 
        Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-89).
    (b) State Law.--Nothing in this Act may be construed to supersede 
or modify any applicable State child welfare laws.

SEC. 9. REALLOCATION OF DHS APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) In General.--Of the amount allocated to Immigration and Customs 
Enforcement for fiscal year 2018 for enforcement, detention, and 
removal operations, $50,000,000 shall be reallocated to carry out 
sections 3 and 5(a).
    (b) Reunification.--Not less than $15,000,000 of the amount 
reallocated under subsection (a) shall be made available to carry out 
section 3.

SEC. 10. COUNSEL FOR CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ALIENS.

    (a) Clarification Regarding the Authority of the Attorney General 
To Appoint Counsel to Aliens in Immigration Proceedings.--Section 292 
of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1362) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``In any removal proceedings before an 
        immigration judge and in any appeal proceedings before the 
        Attorney General from any such removal proceedings,'' and 
        inserting the following:
    ``(a) In General.--In a proceeding conducted under any section of 
this Act,'';
            (2) in subsection (a), as amended by paragraph (1)--
                    (A) by striking ``(at no expense to the 
                Government)''; and
                    (B) by striking ``he shall'' and inserting ``the 
                person shall''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following:
    ``(b) Access to Counsel.--The Attorney General may appoint or 
provide counsel to aliens in any proceeding conducted under any section 
of this Act. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall ensure that--
            ``(1) aliens have access to counsel inside all immigration 
        detention and border facilities;
            ``(2) children do not appear before an immigration judge 
        without counsel; and
            ``(3) children have their cases heard individually.''.
    (b) Appointment of Counsel for Children and Vulnerable Aliens.--
            (1) In general.--Section 292 of the Immigration and 
        Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1362), as amended by subsection (a), 
        is further amended by adding at the end the following:
    ``(c) Children and Vulnerable Aliens.--Notwithstanding subsection 
(b), the Attorney General shall appoint counsel, at the expense of the 
Government if necessary, at the beginning of the proceedings or as 
expeditiously as possible, to represent in such proceedings any alien 
who has been determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security or the 
Attorney General to be--
            ``(1) a child (as defined in section 101(b)(1));
            ``(2) a particularly vulnerable individual, such as--
                    ``(A) a person with a disability; or
                    ``(B) a victim of abuse, torture, or violence; or
            ``(3) an individual whose circumstances are such that the 
        appointment of counsel is necessary to help ensure fair 
        resolution and efficient adjudication of the proceedings.
    ``(d) Extension to Consolidated Cases.--If the Attorney General has 
consolidated the case of any alien for whom counsel was appointed under 
subsection (c) with that of any other alien, and that other alien does 
not have counsel, then the counsel appointed under subsection (c) shall 
be appointed to represent such other alien.
    ``(e) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be 
appropriated to the Executive Office of Immigration Review of the 
Department of Justice such sums as may be necessary to carry out this 
section.''.
            (2) Rulemaking.--The Attorney General shall promulgate 
        regulations to implement section 292(c) of the Immigration and 
        Nationality Act, as added by paragraph (1), in accordance with 
        the requirements set forth in section 3006A of title 18, United 
        States Code.

SEC. 11. ESTABLISHMENT OF LIMIT ON BOND.

    Section 236(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 
1226(a)) is amended--
            (1) in paragraph (2)(A), by striking ``bond of at least 
        $1,500'' and inserting ``subject to paragraph (4), bond in an 
        amount that is not more than $1,500''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(4) The limit on the amount of bond in paragraph (2)(A) 
        shall not apply with respect to an alien who has committed an 
        aggravated felony.''.
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