Border Patrol agents in just one sector of the southern border have apprehended hundreds of illegal immigrants posing as unaccompanied children in order to gain entry to the United States.
El Paso Sector, which has been ramping up its technology and processing capabilities to identify those coming across the border, said in a release that it recently identified 10 adults posing as minors — amid hundreds of such encounters this fiscal year.
In one instance, three adults aged between 21 and 22, were encountered with one adult and nine unaccompanied minors. Their identities were revealed at the El Paso Sector Processing Center when they tried to use forged documents.
Separately, last week agents discovered three men, aged 18, 25 and 26, who were part of a group of nine migrants entering the U.S. Agents spotted discrepancies between their story and their documents that had them down as minors.
HOUSE REPUBLICANS DEMAND ANSWERS ON POLICY ALLOWING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ON PLANES WITH WARRANTS FOR ID
Adult migrants can still be expelled in many cases under Title 42 public health protections put into place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, unaccompanied minors are exempt, and are placed into Health and Human Services (HHS) custody and moved into the U.S. to be united with sponsors or relatives already in the country.
Migrants will sometimes present fake documentation so they can claim to be someone else or a different age. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will use biometrics and other databases to identify those who are entering custody — but that is not always easy to do if migrants have not previously been encountered.
WHITE HOUSE PUSHED ICE TO INCREASE DEPORTATIONS AMID MIGRANT CRISIS: REPORT
“Transnational Criminal Organizations exploit migrants convincing them to pose as minors in order to be processed as such” El Paso Sector Border Patrol Chief Gloria Chavez said in a statement. “Identity fraud is a common tactic used by TCOs to take advantage of migrants who do not know the legal consequences of their actions as they attempt to deceive authorities.”
CBP said in a release that adults who falsely claim to be UACs can face charges of making false statements to federal agents and conspiracy to defraud the United States — as well as charges related to illegal entry.
BORDER PATROL NAB ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT WITH CONVICTIONS FOR RAPING CHILD UNDER AGE OF 4
Officials say that El Paso Sector has so far detected more than 665 adults claiming to be children this fiscal year so far.
It comes amid a broader migrant surge at the border, now into its second year. There have been approximately 200,000 migrant encounters each month for the past five months, with more than two million encounters this fiscal year alone.
Read the full article here