Migrants now face DNA tests and document screening to establish family relationships

Article publisher: 
Arizona Republic
Article date: 
2 May 2019
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 
Immigration and Customs Enforcement is sending teams of investigators to Yuma and other border cities to screen for migrants using fraudulent birth certificates and other documents to "create fake families" to get into the U.S.
The Department of Homeland Security also will begin using rapid DNA testing next week to verify familial claims by some migrants at certain locations along the border, officials announced Wednesday.
Federal officials say the efforts are in response to the influx of migrant families and unaccompanied minors arriving at the border, some of whom officials say have used fraudulent documents created with the help of smuggling organizations to "exploit" immigration laws that require they be released while they pursue asylum claims....
So far this fiscal year, the Border Patrol has seen a 374% increase in the number of migrant families arriving at the border compared with the same period last year, from 39,975 to 189,584, according to Border Patrol data. ...
Migrants arriving as families generally are released from custody within 20 days under existing immigration laws and court rulings aimed at protecting children while adults seeking asylum are generally held in detentions unless they qualify for release on bond.
The Border Patrol within 72 hours must turn unaccompanied minors over to the custody of  the Department of Health and Human Services Offices of Refugee, which places them in shelters until they can be released to the homes of family members or sponsors in the U.S....