DHS official warns GOP senators about 'rented babies' at border

Mark Morgan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told Republicans senators Wednesday that migrants from Central America are “renting babies” to make it easier to get across the U.S. border. 

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyBottom line Graham: FBI investigation in 2016 turned into a 'criminal conspiracy' House GOP unveils alternative drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote MORE (Iowa), one of the Republican senators who attended the Wednesday lunch briefing with Morgan, said the official offered the information to underscore the crisis at the border.

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“I can’t believe that this actually happens but that people down there in Central America or Mexico are renting babies to get across the border and then sending them back and renting them again to get across the border," Grassley told reporters on Thursday.

“The public doesn’t know about it. I hope you guys will help advertise that, assuming the information that I heard yesterday was accurate because that’s a humanitarian crisis that we have to be concerned about,” he said.

Morgan previously raised the issue of migrants from Central America allegedly renting children to make it easier to get across the border and gain asylum in an April interview with the Epoch Times.

“They know now, you grab a kid, you’re in,” he said, citing protections for migrants established by the Flores Settlement and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.

“Grab a kid and you’re in. And so now you’ve seen a complete change in the demographics because of that. And now you’re seeing adult males coming along. And it goes even further, the children are being exploited,” he added. “An adult male who wants to get across will pay the cartels to basically rent the kid. It’s horrendous.”

Grassley said he didn’t see any evidence from the DHS officials that babies are in fact being rented but indicated that he believed it’s happening. 

The Trump administration on Wednesday announced a record number of arrests at the border. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers release defense bill with parental leave-for-Space-Force deal House Democrats expected to unveil articles of impeachment Tuesday Houston police chief excoriates McConnell, Cornyn and Cruz on gun violence MORE has threatened to impose a 5 percent tariff on all exports from Mexico unless that country takes significant steps to curb illegal immigration into the United States. 

Officials from Mexico and the United States are set to resume talks today on a possible deal to avoid the tariffs, which are set to go into place on Monday and could rise as high as 25 percent by October.

GOP senators, including Grassley, have opposed the tariffs, warning they will hurt the U.S. economy and their specific state constituencies.