ICE Warns of Surge in 'Fake Families' Exploiting US Law to Cross Border
Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence says illegal immigrants are using children to enter US
Authorities warned Monday of a surge in "fake families" at the border as illegal immigrants are entering the United States by using children to pose as a family as exploit US laws, according to reports.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is reporting that a soaring number of migrants living in the U.S. illegally have fraudulently posed as families with juvenile children at the border.
ICE reports that investigators have opened about 100 investigations and found more than 25 suspected cases in April alone.
In an attempt to combat smuggling fraud, immigration officials have deployed six new teams of agents to the US Southern Border in the last two weeks.
Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence revealed that he sent the teams down to try to weed out “fake families using forged documents” in a bid to manipulate U.S. immigration policy.
Albence says the large number of investigations launched by ICE is evidence that the move is already paying off.
According to the Washington Times, under a policy imposed by a federal judge in 2015, adults who show up at the border with their children are supposed to be held in detention for 20 days or less.
That isn’t enough time to hear their immigration cases, so the families are released — and often don’t bother to show up for their deportation cases, instead, disappearing into the shadows.
That has created an incentive for adults to abduct or borrow children to make the journey north, hoping to fool border authorities.
“ICE, along with our partners at CBP, remain committed to protecting children by ensuring they are not used as pawns by individuals attempting to gain entry to the U.S. through fraud,” Mr. Albence said.
Sometimes the fraud is based on adults not being related to the children they’re smuggling or being relations but not parents.
In other cases, parents lie about their children’s ages, claiming they are under 18 when in fact they are adults.
In one April 18 case, authorities say they detected a Honduran man traveling with a 7-year-old child.
The man presented a false birth certificate for the juvenile, but ICE says the child was “completely unrelated.”
The man was charged with illegal entry — a misdemeanor.
The child was deemed an Unaccompanied Alien Child (UAC) and turned over to social workers at the Department of Health and Human Services.