Unaccompanied minors are being used as deportation shields in the newest strategy by illegal immigrants to sneak into the country, an expert on the subject told The Washington Times.
Internal Homeland Security documents reviewed by the newspaper show that adults trying to illegally cross into the U.S are pairing up with unrelated children to pretend to be families and fabricate heart-breaking stories in order to convince border agents to admit them.
Partly due to this tactic, the U.S. set records for illegal immigrant children and families in fiscal year 2016 and is on pace to break that mark one month into the current fiscal year.
Intelligence analysts said migrants have figured out so well how to exploit the system that they don't even bother using smugglers anymore, thus making the trip more affordable for additional illegals and encouraging greater numbers to try.
This desire is magnified by the widely-held belief that the U.S. will allow them to enter if they are with a child and claim they fear returning to their home country, The Washington Times reported.
A Center for Immigration Studies report questions the legitimate refugee status of most of the unaccompanied minors crossing into the U.S. and emphasizes that the estimated $1.3 billion cost to taxpayers is more than double what it was in 2010.
The Center's Jessica Vaughan said until recently most illegal migrants from Latin America were adult men who would later send for their families, but the lenient American policy on unaccompanied minors has led to the dramatic shift in tactics, because the migrants see it as an easier way to gain a foothold in the country.
More than 103,000 family members and 70,000 unaccompanied children were caught crossing the border illegally in fiscal year 2016, which was an increase from the previous record year of about 68,000 family members and 69,000 children in 2014.
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