- The Washington Times - Monday, August 22, 2022

Border Patrol agents say they’re seeing a surge of adult illegal immigrants pretending to be children as they try to take advantage of the Biden administration’s more relaxed border policies — including one 26-year-old man who claimed to be a juvenile.

Agents in the El Paso, Texas, region said they’ve caught 10 adults trying the tactic over the last week.

“These individuals pose as minors in order to avoid expulsion,” agents said in a statement describing the tactic.

Under Biden administration policies, children who show up at the border without parents are not subject to the Title 42 border shutdown, which allows agents to quickly expel some illegal immigrants because of the risk of spread of COVID-19. Adults will try to pretend to be unaccompanied children in order to take advantage of that loophole.

Those who show up as single adults had about a 50% chance of being expelled under Title 42 in July, while children who showed up as families had just an 18% chance. Unaccompanied children from non-contiguous countries aren’t expelled at all.

Border Patrol agents described one group of three adults posing as children who jumped the border on Aug. 16: one 21-year-old woman, a 22-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man. They were part of a group of 13 people, all from Guatemala, including nine actual unaccompanied juveniles and one adult who did not try to pose.

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A day later, agents nabbed the 26-year-old, along with a 25-year-old and an 18-year-old — all men also from Guatemala.

Agents said they sniffed out those three through discrepancies in their stories and the documents they presented to try to prove they were children.

Agents have told The Washington Times that while some are caught, far more are likely getting through, given the government’s inability to do thorough screening at the border. Usually, agents take the word of the migrant unless there’s a glaring problem.

Those who pose as children can face prosecution for lying to a federal agent or attempting to defraud the government.

The Border Patrol did not say whether it had brought charges against any of the 10 caught in the past week.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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