According to the Department of Homeland Security, men arriving at the southwestern border of the United States with children has increased by 110 percent in just the last two years. On Tuesday, DHS referred to how a legal loophole created by the Clinton administration, that lets in migrant “families” with kids, may have encouraged the migrants to use children to improve their chances of admission to the country. DHS said that children could be used by smugglers and drug traffickers to enter the country. In addition, DHS said that families are seeking to game the immigration system through fraud. The statement said that 170 families have been caught lying about their relationships to enter the country.
Responding to what DHS regards as “misreporting by multiple” media, a spokesperson said that despite reports and images of adults accompanying minors, “This data does not show nor does DHS assert that all minors apprehended as part of a family unit are illegitimate, but it does indicate that there is a significant problem that provides DHS the needed authority to protect the best interests and welfare of all children.”
Speaking for DHS, Katie Waldman said:
“In response to the misreporting from multiple outlets, I wanted to highlight the rampant fraud taking place at our Southern border. Aliens know that if they bring ANY minor with them they will be apprehended by Border Patrol and released into the interior of the United States. This is a direct result of the Clinton-era Flores Settlement decree that has created a massive loophole which allows alien family units to illegally cross the border and enter the United States after a short detention. This well-known loophole acts a magnet for family units and entices smugglers to use children as a way to gain access to the United States by posing a family unit. Word has gotten out. Over the last two years, we have seen a 110 percent increase in male adults showing up at the border with minors. Further from April 19, 2018 to September 30, 2018, 507 aliens were encountered as a family unit and were separated as they were not a legitimate family unit.”
The Flores consent decree described by DHS refers a ruling by the Supreme Court that limited the length of time a minor can be held in federal custody. Migrant children are often released within the U.S. with their parents in order to comply with the Supreme Court, pending a decision on their asylum application.
Waldman provided numbers to illustrate the incidence of fraud:
87 family units separated were based on a child later determined to be over the age of 18.
165 adults and 6 individuals initially claimed to be minors but were later discovered to be adults.
170 family units separated were based on no family relation.
The Rio Grande valley region had 170 cases of fraud, the highest number recorded.
On Monday, President Donald Trump spoke to reporters in Mississippi in response to questions about the use of tear gas against migrants attempting to cross the border. He said, “In some cases, you know, they’re not the parents,” in reference to images of women and children fleeing tear gas used by U.S. border patrol agents on Sunday. “These are people, they call ’em grabbers,” he said. “They grab a child because they think they’ll have a certain status by having a child.”