USA to give migrants DNA tests to prove family ties

USA to give migrants DNA tests to prove family ties

Kerry Wise
May 4, 2019

According to the lawsuit, border officers searched the smartphones and laptops of more than 33,000 worldwide travelers in 2018 - an increase of nearly 400% from three years earlier.

An unprecedented number of Central American families and unaccompanied minors have been reaching the U.S. -Mexico border, stretching law enforcement's resources past the breaking point.

"We can confirm that the funds requested in the supplemental will not be used to build additional miles of wall on the southwest border", the official said.

McAleenan said DHS is on pace to run out of funding before the end of the year, and said he is planning to submit a supplemental appropriations request to Congress.

Of that, more than $2.8 billion would go to the Department of Health and Human Services, charged with the care of unaccompanied migrant children, to increase its capacity by about 23,600 beds, according to the White House request.

On Monday, ICE announced that it's shifting additional resources and personnel to the southern border, this time from its Homeland Security Investigations office to investigate human smuggling and the use of fraudulent documents "to create fake families". McAleenan, who is also the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, was directed Monday by President Donald Trump to take additional measures to overhaul the asylum system, which he insists "is in crisis" and plagued by "rampant abuse".

"This is an unprecedented step forward in our investigative process and techniques", one DHS official said Wednesday.

The money is on top of more than $8 billion that President Trump sought in his budget request, as well as some $6 billion more in funding he sought through his declaration of a national emergency at the border.

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Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement consider requests from other government agencies in determining whether to search travelers' electronic devices, the court papers said. The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to an Associated Press request for comment; ICE and CBP said they would not comment on pending litigation.

The funding would also help enhance operations and upgrade the government's information technology systems at the border to ensure officers are processing migrants accurately and quickly.

The number of families and children arriving alone to the border is outpacing the number of single adults, and their needs are much different. Their average length of stay in a government shelter is 66 days, up from 59 during fiscal year 2018 and 40 in 2016's fiscal year.

"The situation has become more dire", a senior administration official told reporters on a conference call, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The information we uncovered through our lawsuit shows that CBP and ICE are asserting near-unfettered authority to search and seize travelers' devices at the border, for purposes far afield from the enforcement of immigration and customs laws.

The Trump administration on Wednesday asked Congress for $4.5 billion in immediate emergency funding to help address a surge in migration at the USA southern border, saying the situation has overwhelmed government resources.

The White House asked Congress on Wednesday for $4.5 billion more in emergency funding to address a surge of migrants at the southern border.