Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Monday that it is shifting its resources to deal with the influx of “fake families” arriving on the U.S-Mexico border.
“Fake families are being formed to cross our border and avoid detention. ICE is working with to stop individuals, networks and organizations facilitating child smuggling and document fraud to illegally enter the U.S.,” ICE tweeted on Monday.
The agency stated that it is moving experts to the border to investigate child smuggling, and it will be using science data to “dismantle” the child trafficking rings employed by human smugglers working in Central American and Mexico. The announcement came on the same day as a media appearance by the agency’s acting director.
“What we’re currently doing is 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,” said Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence during an appearance of Fox and Friends.
Family units make up a large portion of the illegal aliens apprehended at the southern border. Of all the people apprehended at the southwest border, 62 percent of them were an unaccompanied minor or claimed to be a part of a family unit. In a six-month time period, around 2,700 migrants were determined to be lying about their family unit claims.
The number of children traveling with adults who are lying about their relationship has raised concerns among immigration enforcement.
“These children are being victimized. We know they’re being trafficked, we know they’re being recycled and sent back across the border numerous times to be rented by these cartels and by these organizations to be utilized again and placed with a non-relative adult so that adult can be released because they know that we can’t hold them,” Albence continued. The Department of Homeland Security has already begun changing policy to deal with the huge wave of “fake” children arriving at the border, with officials now fingerprinting minors that are 14 and younger. Previously, Border Patrol agents would only occasionally take photos and collect some information on children. The changes, they believe, will help them better identify children being used by human smugglers.
Radio and newspaper advertisements in Central America are encouraging locals to flee to the U.S. illegally, and telling them to bring children with them as that increases their chances of making it into the interior of the country.