Immigration officials have apprehended thousands of fake "families" entering the U.S. illegally at its southern border crossings in recent months, according to multiple reports.
What are the details?
The Washington Times reported that an unnamed Department of Homeland Security official claimed during a press call Wednesday that, since Oct. 1, more than 1,000 adult migrants have been caught falsely claiming to be the parent of a minor accompanying them, "putting parameters on the growing phenomenon of adults trying to use someone else's children to sneak into the U.S."
A recent story from the Daily Caller said the figures are even higher, with more than 3,000 fake families discovered trying to cross the border within the past six months.
The Times blamed the problem on a 2015 court ruling, which declared that adults who show up at the border claiming asylum with a juvenile in tow must be released from detention after 20 days — long before their deportation cases can be heard. The outlet wrote that the Obama administration had warned the same year that "such a decision would lead to fraudulent families and children being 'abducted' so adults could pretend to be families."
The Daily Caller also reported that during a trip to the border last month, Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said, "It's very clear that the cartel and smugglers know the weaknesses in our laws. They know that family units and unaccompanied children will be released with no consequences for their illegal entries."
DHS has repeatedly raised alarm over the trend, noting in an April report that "in too many cases, children are being used as pawns by adult migrants and criminal smuggling organizations solely to gain entry into the United States."
In an effort to tackle the issue, immigration officials will begin using a speedy DNA processing method next week to confirm whether or not family units crossing the border are related in order to weed out kids being used to gain access to America.