A spokesperson for the agency has explained that these types of fraudulent relationships are becoming more common which is a concern.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the El Paso area have identified 238 fraudulent families, 50 adults falsely claiming to be minors, and have seized hundreds of documents attempting to support these migrants’ claims, according to an ICE statement released Thursday.
ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, in conjunction with CBP and Border Patrol officials, in April launched the Family Fraud Initiative in El Paso with the goal of identifying “individuals fraudulently presenting themselves as families when making an asylum claim in order to be released into the United States.”
The program identified an enormous amount of fraud by illegal migrants seemingly hoping to take advantage of U.S. immigration laws, and ultimately resulted in more than 350 people being federal prosecuted for making false statements, human smuggling, illegal re-entry into the U.S. after being deported, conspiracy and other crimes.
The Family Fraud Initiative also identified a massive child smuggling operation run by transnational criminal organizations. Investigations indicate these criminal organizations entered into agreements with biological parents, who allow their children to be handed over to unrelated adults so they can falsely pose as a family unit to American officials. Ages of the children have ranged from 16 years to as young as four months.