Immigration attorneys are arguing that U.S. border agents are not doing enough to keep migrants from dangerous situations as border agents cite babies and toddlers are crawling across the border in search of work.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, an 11-day-old infant entered the United States in January by wading across the Rio Grande River in Texas in hopes of seeking employment. The DHS argued the deportation proceedings should continue because of her illegal crossing.
In a similar case, a three-year-old boy fled Honduras to supposedly find work in the U.S. These two children are not the only ones officially listed as seeking employment on Custom and Border Protection forms. The statement that these children are crossing the border for jobs is significant given immigrants are more likely deported from the U.S. if they are seeking work. Immigration advocates argue border patrol is using the excuse of employment as a deceitful cover-up to easily deport migrants. Immigration attorneys assert border agents are not doing the proper screening necessary to determine that these children are not sent back to dangerous situations.
Part of the screening process requires border agents to ask the migrant if they are afraid of returning to her home country. Immigration advocates contend that individuals are not being asked this vital question or that their fears are not being taken down in the record. The three-year-old boy said he was fearful of returning to his country in an American Immigration Lawyers Association briefing that alleges his interview with border patrol "almost certainly never happened in the format in which it was memorialized."
"If you list the incorrect information or you don't honor a fear, that ends up with severe consequences," immigration attorney Bridget Cambria said.
Additionally, inconsistencies in official documents and what immigrants later say further damages these individuals’ pursuit to obtain asylum.
"Inaccuracies or false statements or made-up information in there comes back to undermine an individual's credibility, where they say, 'Look, you said this before but now you're saying this,'" attorney Stephen Manning said.
More than 68,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended last year for crossing the U.S.-Mexico border even thought they said they were fleeing violence in their native countries. Border patrol has a found a way to send the ongoing string of refugee children rushing to the U.S. away by claiming that babies are just looking for a job.