Verifying claims by U.S. border authorities that some illegal immigrants are using children who aren’t theirs to try to enter the United States, Mexican authorities have come forward to assert that illegal immigrants in Tijuana are preying on vulnerable single mothers in shelters by suggesting they sell their children to them.
The Seattle Times reports that Tijuana law enforcement authorities are “warning migrant mothers to keep their children close by and supervised, after reports of men offering to purchase migrant children in order to cross.” The Seattle Times quoted one woman from Honduras confessing, “I can’t go to work because I can’t take my eyes off my boys,” adding that the men have offered roughly $350 to buy children at the Iglesia Embajadores de Jesus shelter in Tijuana. She concluded, “They want to rob our kids so they can cross into the United States.”
Pastor Gustavo Banda, who supervises the Iglesia Embajadores de Jesus shelter and secures the shelter with a chain lock, stated, “These are cases of desperation. Of course, the women have not accepted any of these offers, but clearly this is a huge concern because of the danger to the children.”
When she served as Homeland Security Secretary in 2018, Kirstjen Nielsen was slammed for acknowledging the reality of the problem. She told the National Sheriffs’ Association:
Let me take a minute to walk you through a few of the legal loopholes that DHS must confront every day and the solutions we have requested from Congress. The effects of our broken system are felt in all communities – not just those on the border.
First, under existing law, certain unaccompanied alien children from Mexico and Canada who enter illegally and have no valid claim to stay can be quickly returned home, but unaccompanied children from every other country in the world must be transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) within 72 hours and then released to parents or guardians in the United States. This is a significant pull factor that encourages these children to make the dangerous journey north.
Additionally, when a child is apprehended with their parents, DHS is required – due to various court rulings – to release that child within 20 days. As I mentioned earlier, this effectively creates a “get out of jail free” card for families and groups who pose as families. Unsurprisingly, word of this loophole has spread across the world. From October 2017 to this February, DHS saw a staggering 315 percent increase in illegal aliens fraudulently using children to pose as family units to gain entry into the country, compared to the previous year.
The New York Times admitted, “The numbers Ms. Nielsen cites are correct. Katie Waldman, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, told The New York Times that there were 46 cases of fraudulent family claims in the 2017 fiscal year, which began in October 2016 and ended in September 2017. In just the first five months of the 2018 fiscal year, there were 191 cases — a 315 percent increase.” But then the Times countered, “But those instances of family fraud are a tiny fraction of the total number of families apprehended at the southwestern border: 0.06 percent of nearly 76,000 families in the 2017 fiscal year and 0.6 percent of 31,000 families apprehended in the first five months of the 2018 fiscal year.”