Nearly half of the illegal immigrants who tried to enter the United States with children under the age of 5 in tow were either violent criminals, had no relation to the child they were with, were taken into custody for other charges, or didn’t want the child back, the Department of Homeland Security said on Thursday.
The Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, and DHS have been reunifying illegal aliens and children under the age of 5.
“As of this morning, the initial reunifications were completed. Throughout the reunification process our goal has been the well-being of the children and returning them to a safe environment,” agency officials said in a joint statement on Thursday.
“Our agencies’ careful vetting procedures helped prevent the reunification of children with an alleged murderer, an adult convicted of child cruelty, and adults determined not to be the parent of the child,” they said.
Of the 103 children under the age of five, 57 had been reunified with their caregivers as of 7 a.m. EST.
The 46 remaining children were not returned to the adults who brought them into the U.S. due, in part, to “safety concerns” posed by those adults.
Eleven adults had a history of being charged or convicted of kidnapping, murder, human smuggling, child cruelty, domestic violence, or other similar violent offenses.
One is wanted for murder in Guatamala, said Chris Meekins, Chief of Staff for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and DHHS, according to the Daily Mail.
In seven cases, investigators learned that the adult had lied about having a biological relationship with the child.
Three of those individuals’ lies were uncovered by DNA testing, Meekins added.
One adult had falsified birth certificate information, one had a contagious disease, and another allegedly abused the young child in question, according to the DHS report.
Eleven adults were in the custody of other law enforcement agencies for various offenses, and one planned to house the child at the residence of someone charged with child sexual abuse.
Of the 12 illegal aliens who were deported, all were given the opportunity to take their children back with them, and all declined, Meekins told the Daily Mail.
“Illegals and traffickers know how it works,” President Donald Trump tweeted on Wednesday. “They are just using children!”
“The American immigration system is the most generous in the world, but we are a nation of laws and we intend to continue enforcing those laws,” the joint statement from agency officials read.
“Certain facts remain: The American people gave this administration a mandate to end the lawlessness at the border, and President Trump is keeping his promise to do exactly that," officials said.
"Our message has been clear all along: Do not risk your own life or the life of your child by attempting to enter the United States illegally," the agencies said. "Apply lawfully and wait your turn.”