Homeland Security to seek more funding to handle border crossings

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From October 2018 to March of this year, authorities identified more than 1,000 cases of fraudulent families who were stopped at the southern border.

Homeland Security officials have warned of "child recycling", cases where they say children allowed into the USA were smuggled back into Central America to be paired up again with other adults in fake families.

USA government searches of travelers' cellphones and laptops at airports and border crossings almost quadrupled since 2015 and were being done for reasons beyond customs and immigration enforcement, according to papers filed Tuesday in a federal lawsuit that claims scouring the electronic devices without a warrant is unconstitutional.

"We can confirm that the funds requested in the supplemental will not be used to build additional miles of wall on the southwest border", the official said.

"Given the scale of what we are facing, we will exhaust our resources before the end of this fiscal year", McAleenan told lawmakers in his first testimony on Capitol Hill.

Another $1.1 billion would go toward border operations, including paying for personnel, operations against human smuggling and trafficking operations, and additional detention beds under Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a source of contention in the negotiations over the spending agreement Trump signed in February.

Both ICE and Customs and Border Protection - two agencies within DHS that handle the processing of migrants - will be involved in the pilot. But the ACLU says these agencies are using "the border" as an excuse to skirt the privacy and speech protections enshrined by the Constitution.

McAleenan said he plans to ask Congress to be able to legally keep families with children in custody pending immigration hearings instead of releasing them into the interior to await future court dates.

Immigrant rights groups asked a USA court on Thursday to reverse a Trump administration decision that allows asylum seekers who cross the border illegally to be held without bond. The Health and Human Services Department, Vought said, will soon run out of funds to care for children caught at the border. Democrats failed in their attempt to block Trump's emergency declaration, and they are using a popular veterans bill to block wall construction funding. The remaining $178 million would be used for mission support, including technology upgrades.

"As a country, we must do more to meet the needs of migrants - especially children and families - who are arriving in increasing numbers", she said.

The official stressed that the request is necessary to address a "dire" situation along the border.

"We're going to learn a lot from these (Homeland Security Investigations) teams that have deployed to El Paso and Rio Grande Valley", acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said during a House hearing Tuesday.

Earlier this week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced it would redirect investigators to the southern border in places that have been overwhelmed by the recent influx of migrant families.

In some instances, migrant children are paired with uncles, cousins or other relatives who might not be a parent but are part of the same family. "The Trump administration appears to want much of this $4.5 billion emergency supplemental request to double down on cruel and ill-conceived policies", said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), who chairs the House Appropriations Committee.

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