Children, as young as infants, are being paired with undocumented alien adults using fraudulent documents to gain an almost free passage into the United States. Besides the troubling thought that babies are crossing the bloody border, is the fact that many of these adults are not family members, but smugglers.
Matthew Albence, an Executive Associate Director with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that smugglers are “incentivized” to place children with “adult strangers so they can pose as families and be released from immigration custody after crossing the border.”
The adults cross as a family unit with the intent that if encountered by law enforcement they will use the child as their security blanket to ensure release into the interior of the country because they would be considered a family unit. Albence said that current laws “favor the release of family units” throughout the United States.
According to Marc Sanders, acting Director for the Department of Homeland Security’s Human Smuggling Cell, the “perception surrounding the United States’ immigration policy toward family units has prompted migrants and human smugglers to exploit children to facilitate illicit migration to the United States as fraudulent family units.”
The word of this spread to Central and South America, that if you were an adult, you could enter the country and be released. Sanders also discussed the usage of fraudulent passports by smugglers — “a common tactic used by human smugglers is to place minors with unrelated adults and provide fraudulent documents as part of the service they delivered.” Those documents were in the form of passports or birth certificates. The smugglers would use those same passports or birth certificates for numerous smuggled aliens according to a former member of the Human Smuggling Cell.
The U.S. Border Patrol Fiscal Year apprehension statistics state there were 90,563 aliens claiming family unit status. That is 90,563 aliens that need to be adequately vetted to ensure that the adults and children are actual familial units. One possible way to determine this is through biometrics, i.e. DNA sampling, and the government has moved forward with testing this year.
In July 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services determined that at least five adults were not familial relations after DNA testing. This included adults admitting they were not family just prior to DNA testing. DNA is not only a protective measure to ensure the safety of the child but also a deterrent to traffickers. HHS stated they used DNA tests before but “routinely in cases where verified documents are unavailable.”
Look at this scenario with DNA testing: An adult is accompanied by a trafficked child. They enter the border under the cover of darkness circumnavigating a designated port of entry with the goal of making it to a pre-designated trafficking pick-up point. They are considered a “family unit,” as described above.
The family unit is apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol after the cross over the Rio Grande. The adult is interviewed under oath and states they are the child’s parent. The family unit is swabbed for DNA to see if they truly are. It turns out the parent is not really the parent based on the DNA. The adult is arrested for lying under oath. This allows law enforcement to further enter their DNA into the FBI’s DNA database. It reveals the adult is a suspect in a series of rapes.
The result of that one DNA sample determined the man was trafficking the child, he lied under oath and was a suspect in a series of felony offenses. The child is likely saved from trafficking and a bona fide criminal is kept from freely walking our streets.
DNA testing can be considered a major deterrent to adults trying illegally crossing the border paired with a child that is not theirs. Common sense dictates that a non-familial adult, knowing they would possibly be subject to DNA testing, may forgo even attempting to cross with a child for fear of prosecution.
The real victim through all of this is the child. This is a cycle of victimization for that child who has no idea why they are being used and have no voice.
Who knows what happened to these children when their use is over, or they became too old. Were they enslaved down south? Killed and buried in an unmarked grave?
The only way this can be rectified is with comprehensive bi-partisan immigration reform. There is no easy solution, but the protection of the child needs to be paramount.
Dr. Jason Piccolo is a career federal agent, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and a nationally recognized whistleblower for the 2015 release of Unaccompanied Alien Children to criminal sponsors. Jason holds a Master of Forensic Science and a Doctorate of Strategic. Find him on Twitter: @DRJasonPiccolo.
The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.