By Todd Bensman as published June 8, 2023 by Town Hall
AUSTIN, Texas – “I’m thinking to myself: Horror. Horror. Horror”
That was how Monica Maple, a retired assistant special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations, described her feelings to me about when she learned last year that President Joe Biden’s government merely pared back a rapid DNA testing program at the southern border that had ended an abusive form of child trafficking.
She must be suffering Apocalypse Now nightmares since Biden’s DHS on May 31 quietly delivered the coup-de-grâce on the rapid DNA testing program. I’d interviewed Maple for my book, Overrun: How Joe Biden Unleashed the greatest border crisis in U.S. history, because she led the government’s investigative response in 2019 to a massive outbreak of immigrant family border crossings within which too many adult strangers faked parenthood and paid for the kids of others to accompany them over the border.
Then, just as now, kids had became monetized golden tickets into America thanks to the so-called Flores Settlement, a legal loophole requiring release of families from detention in under 21 days. In rampant fashion, unscrupulous smugglers and parents learned they could parcel out extra siblings to the highest childless bidders.
Often enough, reunification didn’t happen right away, if at all, exposing the children to kidnapping, neglect, abuse, sexual exploitation, or abandonment in cornfields until the real parent reclaimed them in some U.S. city weeks or months later. From her field office in San Antonio, Maple stood up the nation’s first investigative effort to prosecute all of the adult miscreants involved in these dangerous fake family scams.
But then it all pretty much ended when the Trump administration deployed rapid familial DNA testing at popular border crossing locations.
Border Patrol would line up immigrant families fresh over the border, take cheek swabs, and release them after a positive match maybe an hour later. About 30 percent initially failed, according to a February 2022 DHS Office of Inspector General report, so rampant was the scam.
But the 250 or so monthly tests the Trump DHS was giving were plenty enough to end the faux family trafficking problem, Maple told me for the book, working like Jonas Salk’s vaccine on polio.
“People who were told they were going to go through the machine were just breaking as they were waiting to give their swab,” Maple told me for the book. “It was, ‘Oh yeah, that’s not my daughter; it’s my niece. It’s my cousin, or some other story. It could have been a copy machine; they didn’t know the difference.”
That’s why Maple told me she felt “horror” upon learning that Biden’s DHS had sharply pared back the testing from Trump’s 250 per month to only a few dozen by April 2021, the Washington Examiner reported, given only when deemed “absolutely necessary” or when there was “significant suspicion.”
Why the coup de grace?
The administration is silent about why it would do such an obviously terrible thing.
But the Examiner reported one plausible reason that’s probably applicable today: because the administration’s January 2021 decision to exempt immigrant families from Trump’s Title 42 instant expulsion measure had ginned up a massive crush of immigrant families that immediately clogged all systems and generated high negative media heat. The DNA tests may have contributed to backlogs that news drones beamed around the world.
“This administration wants these families and kids released quickly,” the Examiner quoted one DHS official explaining the decision. “That is their No. 1 goal, so they are not going to do anything to slow that process down.”
That’s probably why the Biden DHS has now quietly driven the stake all the way through testing: a leaked DHS May 19 memo announced its end with no elaboration – just as yet a new hurricane of immigrant family border crossings is spinning up and over the southern border, as I recently reported in The New York Post.
That is the very wrong direction for the right thing as families now pour over the southern border to take advantage once again of the Flores Settlement loophole.
Why Americans on the left and right must object
Americans who care about child welfare, regardless of immigration status, deserve to know that politically motivated policy choices like this portend real hurt as the currency for preserving Democrat Party power.
In one of the few cases prosecuted in the United States, thanks to Maple’s efforts in Texas, Honduran mother of four Belkin Idania Martinez-Parada agreed to a smuggler’s scheme to rent three of her four children, ages six months to 12 years, to three different Honduran men so they could pass through the Texas border, court records show.
Martinez-Parada earned free passage for herself and all four kids. Each of the men received a fraudulently obtained real birth certificate showing each kid was their own.
But Martinez-Parada waited a full month before crossing with her last child, while two of the three men went on with the kids to different U.S cities. The infant, for instance, ended up with the man’s family in Florida. The whole scheme broke down when the man with the six-year-old boy got caught lying at the border and Border Patrol decided to deport him. That fake father confessed everything because he didn’t want to take the boy back with him.
One fake dad took her six-year-old boy to Houston. The 8-year-old girl went neglected for weeks in an apartment when her fake father left her alone each day while he worked. On Facebook, fake father Kevin Cardona-Perdoma complained bitterly to friends and family that the mom wouldn’t come collect the child, leaving him to support her. At one point, a neighbor found the little girl wandering around alone in the complex parking lot.
Cardona-Perdoma counted himself lucky that the neighbor didn’t call police, who would have learned about the scam and deported him.
Maple said ICE eventually tracked down the mother in Mexico and demanded she go to Florida to collect her infant from the strangers. All involved were prosecuted on alien-smuggling charges.
“She had no intention of going to get that baby again. It’s a new low for humanity that you would give your child away like this to a stranger,” Maple told me. “I’d hate to see something happen to that child after the handoff occurs. They are with somebody who is not their parent. What if fake mom or fake dad needed to make medical decisions for the child. It’s just not right; the person who is supposed to be protecting them is not there.”
While the rapid DNA tests ended the Trump era’s fake family trend, it sparked right back up after Biden took office and pared them back.
A May 8, 2022 Wall Street Journal expose disclosed that at least several thousand Brazilian children entered the United States with an adult who falsely claimed to be their parent. It was the same old story of the real parent selling extra kids to strangers. A New York Times expose about migrant child labor abuses concluded that the White House and federal agencies ignored or missed repeated warnings that migrant children being brought over the border were at risk of indentured servitude.
Now that Biden’s DHS has entirely dumped the testing, expect a lot more unnecessary horror, and headlines the Democrats clearly abhor more than they do child abuse.