Blumenthal demands DOJ stop ‘monsters’ preying on immigrants

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate reports that scammers are targeting relatives of children crossing the border.

“These children and their families have risked their lives fleeing unspeakable violence, extortion and crime only to encounter monsters of a different sort once they’ve reached our borders,” Blumenthal said Thursday. “The DOJ should pursue a swift and thorough investigation ‎and prosecute the criminals that are preying on these families in their most vulnerable moments.”

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Lawmakers have grown increasingly concerned about thousands of immigrant children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala being detained at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Blumenthal cited news reports that con artists have obtained information about the children being detained at U.S. military bases and are now asking the relatives of the children for money in exchange for promises of reuniting them.

“Sadly, this unconscionable fraud has deepened the wounds these families are trying to heal, and heightened the fear they feel over the safety and security of their children,” Blumenthal said. “I plan to use all the resources at my disposal to ensure that there is a thorough investigation of the scams that have been reported and the data breach that made these scams possible, and that criminal and civil charges are brought against any individual found to be participating in these scams.”

Next week, the Senate is expected to consider an emergency spending bill that would give the administration $2.7 billion to provide legal services and temporarily house and feed the children for the remainder of this year.

Some Republicans want to attach immigration reforms to the legislation, but Democrats have pushed back against that idea.