The Department of Homeland Security is considering a proposal to separate children from adults when they are trying to cross the border illegally, CNN reported Friday.
According to a White House official, the measure is aimed to deter the exploitation of children. "We are trying to find ways to deter the use of children in illegal immigration," he said. "We are seeing kids essentially kidnapped and used to get here and stay."
The official clarified the exploitative circumstances, saying that parents often embark on dangerous treks with minors, and some even claim children as their own so they can enter and stay in the U.S.
"People are taking advantage of the system," the official said, acknowledging there may be perception issues with the proposal.
WATCH | The DHS considers a new border security measure
The new proposal would allow U.S. immigration officials to separate children from the adults they were with. The adults could be kept in detention while the children could be moved elsewhere under protected status, such as with family members or with child protective services.
No final decision has been made about the proposal, which is reportedly still undergoing revision by staff members, the official added.
The current protocol typically allows adults accompanied by children to be released into the U.S. and stay in the country, pending disposition of their cases, the official added.
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