“There’s been some concern about, ‘Are they stepfathers or adopted fathers?’” the official told the newspaper. “Those were not the case. In these cases, they are misrepresented as family members.”
In some of the cases, when the adults were asked to submit to a cheek swab to prove their relation to the children, they refused to do so and admitted they were not related. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) administered the tests, which are designed by an American company.
ICE ran the test for several days earlier this month in El Paso and McAllen in Texas. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will review the results to determine whether to include the program in a comprehensive solution for addressing the border crisis.
“This is certainly not the panacea. It’s one measure,” the official said, adding that in addition to exposing fraudulent claims, the DNA tests help prove that some families are related in cases when DHS officials are unsure.
The Rapid DNA kits would be provided by ANDE, a contractor. DHS said that one of its personnel and a qualified technician would administer each test. Once a consenting adult and child provide a cheek swab, the results are ready in an average of two hours.
As many as 1 million aliens are expected to cross into the United States illegally in 2019. More than half of the illegal aliens who arrived in the country this year claimed to be families. Border security officials said some of the aliens use fraudulent birth certificates to fake family ties.
Under current U.S. law, authorities can only hold illegal alien families for 20 days. As a result, those who claim asylum are released into the United States shortly after apprehension. Most of those arriving as families seek to be apprehended by border patrol officials knowing they would soon be released.
After their release, aliens who claim asylum are given work permits and allowed to remain in the United States until a scheduled court appearance, which may come years later. Most do not show up for their scheduled court date.
The U.S. asylum system is meant for people escaping persecution in their homeland. Most of the migrants currently exploiting the system are coming to the United States for improved economic opportunities, a rationale not covered by the asylum law. As a result of the detention limits for families and children, illegal aliens nevertheless gain access to the United States for years even if their asylum claims are invalid.