On Wednesday, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials said that more than 1000 fraudulent families have been seen at the southern border in just the last seven months. The practice of using someone else’s children to get over the border is a growing problem.
DHS will start a pilot program next week in which on-the-spot DNA tests will attempt to match children with their parents. The effort will seek to not only catch those trying to scam U.S. border enforcement practices but also to identify juveniles who are at risk.
The so-called Rapid DNA test uses a cheek swab that can yield results within 90 minutes. The results will be used to verify whether apprehended migrants are telling the truth when they claim to be part of a family unit.
Regarding false family groups crossing the border, “It’s definitely an escalating trend that we’re seeing,” one official told reporters, according to the Washington Times.
A 2015 Supreme Court ruling, Reno vs. Flores, presented illegals with a window of opportunity as it stated minor illegal alien children can only be held up to 20 days. Sen. Lindsey Graham recently said about that ruling: “If a family comes here with a minor child, we release the entire family after 20 days, because we don’t have bed space. So we need to change that decision.”
When a family group is caught and makes a claim of asylum, they cannot be deported quickly. The 20-day maximum they can be held represents less than half the time it usually takes to process and hear deportation cases, according to the Times.
With the Reno vs. Flores ruling, border officials are forced to release the family groups, who subsequently disappear into the U.S. and almost never show up for their court cases.
Obama administration authorities warned the courts in 2015 that making such a ruling would lead to children being “abducted” to fabricate make-believe families, enabling adults to skirt U.S. border enforcement measures. The courts ignored that warning.
The current average of confirmed cases of fraudulent families using unrelated children comes to about five every day. Officials pointed out that number includes only those who have been caught. The DNA testing will likely greatly increase that number.
“This is an unprecedented step forward in our investigative process and techniques,” a DHS official told reporters on a conference call.
“The whole goal here is to identify these fake family units,” another official said.
“It’s very clear that the cartel and smugglers know the weaknesses in our laws,” said acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan during a visit to the border last month. “They know that family units and unaccompanied children will be released with no consequences for their illegal entries.”
ICE has also announced that it’s bringing experts to the border to focus on child smuggling investigations, according to The Daily Caller. Scientific data and methodology will be utilized to “dismantle” child trafficking rings that are in place and are used by human smugglers throughout Mexico and Central America.
“We’re currently … surging resources from ICE’s Homeland Security investigations to the border. We’re sending human trafficking experts, document fraud experts, forensic interviewers, victim assistance specialists, because our first and primary goal is the safety and security of these children,” acting ICE Director Matthew Albence said on Monday.
Another measure being put in place to fight child smuggling rings is a new practice in which Border Patrol agents fingerprint children 14 and younger upon apprehension.
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