6 U.S. Code § 279 - Children’s affairs
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(a) Transfer of functions
There are transferred to the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement of the Department of Health and Human Services functions under the immigration laws of the United States with respect to the care of unaccompanied alien children that were vested by statute in, or performed by, the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization (or any officer, employee, or component of the Immigration and Naturalization Service) immediately before the effective date specified in subsection (d) of this section.
(1) In general
Pursuant to the transfer made by subsection (a) of this section, the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement shall be responsible for—
(A) coordinating and implementing the care and placement of unaccompanied alien children who are in Federal custody by reason of their immigration status, including developing a plan to be submitted to Congress on how to ensure that qualified and independent legal counsel is timely appointed to represent the interests of each such child, consistent with the law regarding appointment of counsel that is in effect on November 25, 2002;
(B) ensuring that the interests of the child are considered in decisions and actions relating to the care and custody of an unaccompanied alien child;
(C) making placement determinations for all unaccompanied alien children who are in Federal custody by reason of their immigration status;
(F) identifying a sufficient number of qualified individuals, entities, and facilities to house unaccompanied alien children;
(G) overseeing the infrastructure and personnel of facilities in which unaccompanied alien children reside;
(I) compiling, updating, and publishing at least annually a state-by-state list of professionals or other entities qualified to provide guardian and attorney representation services for unaccompanied alien children;
(J) maintaining statistical information and other data on unaccompanied alien children for whose care and placement the Director is responsible, which shall include—
(i) biographical information, such as a child’s name, gender, date of birth, country of birth, and country of habitual residence;
(ii) the date on which the child came into Federal custody by reason of his or her immigration status;
(iii) information relating to the child’s placement, removal, or release from each facility in which the child has resided;
(iv) in any case in which the child is placed in detention or released, an explanation relating to the detention or release; and
(K) collecting and compiling statistical information from the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of State on each department’s actions relating to unaccompanied alien children; and
(2) Coordination with other entities; no release on own recognizance
In making determinations described in paragraph (1)(C), the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement—
(A) shall consult with appropriate juvenile justice professionals, the Director of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Border Security to ensure that such determinations ensure that unaccompanied alien children described in such subparagraph—
(ii) are protected from smugglers, traffickers, or others who might seek to victimize or otherwise engage them in criminal, harmful, or exploitive activity; and
(3) Duties with respect to foster care
In carrying out the duties described in paragraph (1), the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement is encouraged to use the refugee children foster care system established pursuant to section 412(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1522 (d)) for the placement of unaccompanied alien children.
(c) Rule of construction
Nothing in this section may be construed to transfer the responsibility for adjudicating benefit determinations under the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.) from the authority of any official of the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, or the Department of State.
(d) Effective date
With respect to any function transferred by this section, any reference in any other Federal law, Executive order, rule, regulation, or delegation of authority, or any document of or pertaining to a component of government from which such function is transferred—
(1) to the head of such component is deemed to refer to the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement; or
(f) Other transition issues
(1) Exercise of authorities
Except as otherwise provided by law, a Federal official to whom a function is transferred by this section may, for purposes of performing the function, exercise all authorities under any other provision of law that were available with respect to the performance of that function to the official responsible for the performance of the function immediately before the effective date specified in subsection (d) of this section.
(2) Savings provisions
Subsections (a), (b), and (c) ofsection 552 of this title shall apply to a transfer of functions under this section in the same manner as such provisions apply to a transfer of functions under this chapter to the Department of Homeland Security.
(3) Transfer and allocation of appropriations and personnel
The personnel of the Department of Justice employed in connection with the functions transferred by this section, and the assets, liabilities, contracts, property, records, and unexpended balance of appropriations, authorizations, allocations, and other funds employed, held, used, arising from, available to, or to be made available to, the Immigration and Naturalization Service in connection with the functions transferred by this section, subject to section 1531 of title 31, shall be transferred to the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement for allocation to the appropriate component of the Department of Health and Human Services. Unexpended funds transferred pursuant to this paragraph shall be used only for the purposes for which the funds were originally authorized and appropriated.
As used in this section—
(1) the term “placement” means the placement of an unaccompanied alien child in either a detention facility or an alternative to such a facility; and
(2) the term “unaccompanied alien child” means a child who—
 See References in Text note below.
Source(Pub. L. 107–296, title IV, § 462,Nov. 25, 2002, 116 Stat. 2202; Pub. L. 110–457, title II, § 235(f),Dec. 23, 2008, 122 Stat. 5081.)
References in Text
The Immigration and Nationality Act, referred to in subsec. (c), is act June 27, 1952, ch. 477, 66 Stat. 163, as amended, which is classified principally to chapter 12 (§ 1101 et seq.) of Title 8, Aliens and Nationality. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1101 of Title 8 and Tables.
Section 4, referred to in subsec. (d), is section 4 ofPub. L. 107–296, which is set out as an Effective Date note under section 101 of this title.
This chapter, referred to in subsec. (f)(2), was in the original “this Act”, meaning Pub. L. 107–296, Nov. 25, 2002, 116 Stat. 2135, known as the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 101 of this title and Tables.
In subsec. (f)(3), “section 1531 of title 31” substituted for “section 202 of the Budget and Accounting Procedures Act of 1950” on authority of Pub. L. 97–258, § 4(b),Sept. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 1067, the first section of which enacted Title 31, Money and Finance.
2008—Subsec. (b)(1)(L). Pub. L. 110–457, § 235(f)(1), substituted “, including regular follow-up visits to such facilities, placements, and other entities, to assess the continued suitability of such placements.” for period at end.
Subsec. (b)(3). Pub. L. 110–457, § 235(f)(2)(A), substituted “paragraph (1),” for “paragraph (1)(G),”.
Subsec. (b)(4). Pub. L. 110–457, § 235(f)(2)(B), added par. (4).
Change of Name
Bureau of Border Security, referred to in subsec. (b)(2)(A), changed to Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement by Reorganization Plan Modification for the Department of Homeland Security, eff. Mar. 1, 2003, H. Doc. No. 108–32, 108th Congress, 1st Session, set out as a note under section 542 of this title.