The Trump administration views itself as bound by the much-ballyhooed but legally erroneous Flores consent decree, which initially covered detention release times merely for unaccompanied alien children at our border, but has been subsequently extended to also cover accompanied alien children. I explained in a Daily Wire op-ed this week:
The Flores consent decree was likely itself illegal, insofar as it undermined the clear statutory text of 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(B)(iii)(IV): “Any alien subject to the [asylum interview] procedures under this clause shall be detained pending a final determination of credible fear of persecution and, if found not to have such a fear, until removed.” …As the statute sub-heading reads verbatim, this amounts to “mandatory detention.” No room for ambiguity there!
Flores was further butchered during the Obama Administration. As Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro noted during the hullabaloo last spring, the Obama Administration implemented an ostensibly humanitarian-motivated border policy of keeping accompanied alien minor children with their parents during the asylum-seeking process’s statutorily prescribed “mandatory detention” period. But in 2015, leftist Judge Dolly Gee, of the same district court that legitimized Flores, erroneously extended Flores‘s 20-day rule fabrication even further to apply to accompanied alien children in addition to unaccompanied alien children. As Ben also noted: “This meant that the government either had to release whole families, or that the government had to separate parents from children.” In summation, the (illegal) Flores consent decree, in addition to (illegal) subsequent extensions of that consent decree, have acted in unison to leave the Trump Administration with the two deeply unappetizing options of (1) mass catch-and-release or (2) politically untenable family separation.
But an accompanied alien child is only actually “accompanied” if the child is with a family member. And according to The Washington Times, the recent revelation of many “fake” families at the border has galvanized the Department of Homeland Security to begin conducting DNA tests at the border. Per the Times:
Border authorities have identified more than 1,000 “fake families” over the past seven months featuring adults trying to use children who aren’t their own to sneak into the U.S.
Homeland Security officials revealed the number Wednesday as they announced a pilot program to begin using DNA testing to match children and the adults trying to sneak across the U.S.-Mexico boundary with them.
“It’s definitely an escalating trend that we’re seeing,” one department official said of the fraudulent families. …
[C]ommon now is families showing up, hoping to take advantage of lax U.S. laws that give adults with children a virtual get-out-of-detention card. Under a 2015 court ruling, they can be held for only 20 days — too short for their cases to be completed.
Instead, they are released, and few bother to show up for their court proceedings and deportations.
It’s so common that adults have begun to abduct or borrow children to pose as families — sparking the need for the DNA testing.
“The whole goal here is to identify these fake family units,” an official said.
The trend appears to be catching on among the largely-Central American migrants who are currently inundating our beleaguered southwestern border. As the Times notes, there were just 46 “fake family” cases in all of the federal government’s 2017 fiscal year, but there have been over five cases per day through the first seven months of the government’s 2019 fiscal year.