Trump admin cracks down on parents who paid to smuggle children into US

Trump admin cracks down on parents who paid to smuggle children into US
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President Trump's administration has launched a new crackdown on undocumented immigrants who paid to have their children smuggled into the U.S., McClatchy reported Thursday.

Border control agents have reportedly begun sharing information with immigration officials about the U.S.-based relatives of unaccompanied children.

In a statement to McClatchy, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea confirmed that the agency is targeting parents as part of their efforts against human smuggling.

“ICE aims to disrupt and dismantle end-to-end the illicit pathways used by transnational criminal organizations and human smuggling facilitators,” Elzea said.

“As such, we are currently conducting a surge initiative focused on the identification and arrest of individuals involved in illicit human smuggling operations, to include sponsors who have paid criminal organizations to smuggle children into the United States.”

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In February, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released memos indicating that ICE will now consider all undocumented immigrants except those protected by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as not exempt from being deported.

DHS officials said at the time that the new rules wouldn't lead to mass deportations.

“We do not have the personnel, time or resources to go into communities and round up people and do all kinds of mass throwing folks on buses. That’s entirely a figment of folks’ imagination,” one official said in February.

“This is not intended to produce mass roundups, mass deportations.”

According to McClatchy's report, at least a dozen cases of ICE agents targeting parents who paid to have children smuggled into the country were reported across the United States over the weekend.

“The kids are basically being used as bait at this point,” one U.S. official with the Office of Refugee Resettlement said.