McAleenan: Almost 4800 Migrants Presented as Fraudulent Family Units This Year

By Melanie Arter | June 12, 2019 | 5:27pm EDT
(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

( - Almost 4800 migrants presented themselves as fraudulent family units this year, according to acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, Chairman Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C) immigration bill, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) asked: “You said almost 4800 migrants have presented as fraudulent family units this year. Does that include people who have familial relationships other than simple parent-child such as grandparents or siblings?”


Fraudulent family units refer to “individuals who presented an adult-child relationship as a parent or guardian,” McAleenan said. “That’s the primary focus there. I’d just like to add that we put 400 HSIs (Homeland Security investigators) down in our key stations in El Paso and RGV (Rio Grande Valley). They’ve only been there for about five weeks.

“They’ve done about 1,000 interviews - to date 1568 interviews - and they’ve identified 242 cases of fraud and 504 fraudulent documents. We also did a DNA pilot for three days only 109 families, 17 cases where the parent or guardian presenting was not related. In fact, nine of them admitted that they were not related as they come up to the DNA testing,” he said.



“One individual was a 51-year-old who had paid $80 to rent a six-month-old child to come to the border. We’re very concerned about the incidents of fraud. We think it’s a huge part of this cycle, and it’s caused by the fact that they know if they come as a family, they’ll get special treatment at a port,” McAleenan said.

During his opening testimony, the acting secretary said, “It’s been over 18 months since the administration asked for the legislative fixes that would have presented the current crisis and 40 days since we asked for the emergency funding necessary to manage it.”

In the past 40 days, he said, 60,000 children - both unaccompanied and part of family units - entered DHS custody.

“Last month, as you noted, Mr. Chairman, we encountered a modern record of 144,000 border crossers, a record day of over 5,800 border crossings in a single 24 hour period, and the largest single group ever apprehended at our border - 1,036 individuals,” he said.

McAleenan said without the emergency supplemental, “DHS will not be able to provide appropriate facilities and care. Migrants will remain in custody at the border longer than necessary, and DHS will ultimately need to reprogram funding carefully appropriated by Congress from other critical Homeland Security priorities. The impact of that reprogramming will be significant and affect nearly every component of the department.”

The acting secretary said that “72 percent of all border enforcement actions in May were associated with unaccompanied children and family units.”

“In that group of 1,036, all of the numbers were from Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador. The group included 900 family units, over 60 unaccompanied children, and just under 40 single adults. That’s indicative of the crisis we’re facing. To put this moment in context, CBP’s total enforcement actions in May are more than six times higher in May 2017 and two times higher than the May average for the past seven years,” he said.



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