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DHS: Rate of Migrant Men Arriving at Border with Children Increased 110 Percent in Two Years

Migrants, part of a caravan of thousands traveling from Central America en route to the United States, cross the Tijuana river to reach the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico in Tijuana, Mexico November 25, 2018. (Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters )

The number of migrant men arriving at the border with children increased by 110 percent over the past two years, according to data released by the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday.

DHS suggested in a Tuesday statement that the dramatic surge indicates many migrants are likely arriving with unrelated children so that they will be allowed into the country while their asylum case is determined, rather than being detained, as they likely would be if they had arrived alone:

In response to the misreporting from multiple outlets, I wanted to highlight the rampant fraud taking place at our Southern border. Aliens know that if they bring ANY minor with them they will be apprehended by Border Patrol and released into the interior of the United States. This is a direct result of the Clinton-era Flores Settlement decree that has created a massive loophole which allows alien family units to illegally cross the border and enter the United States after a short detention. This well-known loophole acts a magnet for family units and entices smugglers to use children as a way to gain access to the United States by posing a family unit. Word has gotten out. Over the last two years, we have seen a 110 percent increase in male adults showing up at the border with minors. Further from April 19, 2018 to September 30, 2018, 507 aliens were encountered as a family unit and were separated as they were not a legitimate family unit.

The statement was accompanied by data that illustrate the recent high rates of fraud: between April 19 and September 30 of this year, 87 family units were separated because migrants claiming to be minors were found to be over 18 and 170 family units were separated after they were found to be unrelated.

The Flores consent decree described in the statement refers to a Supreme Court decision that limits the length of time that a minor can be held in federal custody. In order to comply with that decision, migrant children are often released into the country with their parents pending a decision on their asylum application.

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