ICE to Establish Rapid DNA Testing at Seven Locations Along the Border

By Peek & Toland on August 13, 2019

According to a recent report from The Hill, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is seeking to establish rapid DNA testing at seven border locations under the guise of a project dubbed “Operation Double Helix 2.0.” The purpose of the testing ostensibly is to identify immigrants who are falsely claiming to have family relationships when they enter or attempt to enter the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claims that immigrants sometimes pose as fake families to engage in human smuggling operations or to attain release in the U.S. more quickly. ICE intends to utilize a private company to carry out the cheek swab testing, which should be completed in 90 minutes or less. The test results allegedly will help Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents identify immigrants who are violating the law.

ICE to Establish Rapid DNA Testing at Seven Locations Along Border

ICE declined to identify the seven locations in which they intend to launch the investigation, stating only that these areas have an influx of immigrants. However, the project did list California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico as potential “testing” locations. ICE also added that the project locations might change over time.

The initial project will involve the administration of 50,000 tests, with an additional 50,000 tests administered during option period one, if ICE chooses to exercise that option. Before seeking bids from contractors for Operation Double Helix 2.0, DHS operated a pilot DNA testing program in May 2019 to identify and prosecute false claims of family relationships between immigrants. Through the pilot program, HSI interviewed 561 families whose situation had indicators of fraud. Interviews yielded 95 fraudulent families, whereas the discovery of fake documents revealed another 176 fraudulent families. The adults were referred for criminal prosecution, and the children placed in the custody of Health and Human Services Department.

An experienced Texas immigration attorney can help you with all aspects of immigration law. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your case and present your options. Finally, we can help you make the decisions that will be most beneficial to you, based on your circumstances. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and see how we can help.

Posted in Immigration Reform

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection Announces Changes After Second Child Death

By Peek & Toland on March 12, 2019

After two eight-year-old Guatemalan children died while in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in December 2018, CBP has announced changes to its policies for handling child immigrants. Specifically, CBP indicated that they would be performing secondary medical checks on all children taken into custody, with a special focus on those children under the age of 10. The agency also is considering requesting additional medical support from other government agencies, such as the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control.

Furthermore, CBP has recognized the need to review its procedures for holding immigrants in custody so as to alleviate overcrowding in centers located in the El Paso area. CPB also has taken the step of informing the media of any deaths of individuals in their custody within 24 hours.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Announces Changes After Second Child Death

CBP Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan, who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in December, told the group of senators that CBP facilities were designed to detain mostly male single adults, not families and children. He underscored the need to work with Health and Human Services in order to transfer the children to more appropriate custody situations.

According to CBP, the second boy’s death in December occurred on Christmas Eve. The child developed a cough, fever, and vomiting after about a week in custody. He received treatment from a local medical centers, including a prescription antibiotic, but his condition eventually worsened. The boy stopped breathing while en route to the same hospital, and emergency medical personnel were unsuccessful in attempting to resuscitate him. An autopsy showed that the child died of the flu.

Peek & Toland dedicates a large part of its practice to helping both individuals and businesses resolve their immigration-related issues. Immigration law is a complex, ever-changing area of the law that necessitates legal advice from experienced immigration lawyers who keep up-to-date with all relevant changes in law and policy. We will work with you to achieve the most positive outcome possible in your situation. Call our office today and set up a consultation with our skilled immigration attorneys today.

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Border Immigration Surges in Texas Post Election

By Peek & Toland on February 9, 2017

In the days after the presidential election border immigration surged in Texas and a second temporary holding facility was opened up.

In a report NBC5 noted another surge of families and unaccompanied children who were fleeing high levels of violence and poverty in Central America.

The TV station noted the temporary shelter at the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge in the Rio Grande Valley city of Donna will house as many as 500 new arrivals, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Border immigration surge is seen in Texas

Texas is at the center of a border immigration surge

Although the election of a president who has been a vociferous opponent of immigration is a new factor, we have seen previous border immigration surges. Most of the new arrivals are young immigrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

The federal government has struggled to cope with surges from these countries that saw a spike in 2014.

Many migrant families are released from the centers after they have been processed. Nonprofit organizations help them reach relatives living in the U.S.

Reporters from NBC 5 visited a respite center in McAllen in Texas.

In more than two years of operation, volunteers helped more than 60,000 men, women and children crossed the border.

Workers at the center said many of the new arrivals turn themselves in when they cross the border. Patrol officers give them temporary permission to be in the United States before an immigration judge decides whether they should be returned to their home nations.

The center has been helping 250 to 350 migrants every day. Many of them have relatives in the United States who they go on to stay with.

Border Immigration Surge is Concentrated on McAllen in Texas

A CNN report suggested the surge was underway even before the election at the prospect of a Trump victory.

The Department of Homeland Security announced 46,195 people were apprehended in October 2016 at the southwest border in October. Many of them crossed the border near McAllen in Texas.

The number was up almost a fifth on the previous month. Officials sent 150 more agents to this part of the border in Texas to help handle the influx.

Many of the migrants are fleeing gang activity persecution and extreme poverty in Central America. Some of these factors could make them eligible for asylum.

If you are an undocumented immigrant you could face deportation and should contact our Austin cancellation of removal lawyers as soon as possible by calling (512) 474-4445.

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