A Guatemalan man has been indicted on human smuggling charges for allegedly paying the family of an 8-year-old boy $130 so he could use the child to enter the United States.
The Arizona Daily Star reported Maynor Velasquez Molina crossed the border with the boy at Lukeville, about 150 miles southwest of Phoenix, on Feb. 18.
“Velasquez showed Border Patrol agents a Guatemalan birth certificate to prove the boy was his son, but four days later agents determined the claim was false,” according to the Daily Star.
Molina’s case is not an isolated incident. From October to March, there were hundreds in the Yuma sector near the Arizona-California border, according to the Daily Star.
More than 1,000 fraudulent family claims were spotted at the border during the past seven months, The Washington Times reported.
The Border Patrol, meanwhile, discovered about 3,100 false family claims since April 2018, The Associated Press reported.
“At a round table with President Donald Trump broadcast in February, one Border Patrol official described a case he said led to eight indictments in South Carolina, including of a Guatemalan woman who said she had ‘recycled’ children 13 times for payments of $1,500 a child,” according to the AP.
The Department of Homeland Security has warned about “child recycling” happening at the border, where children who enter the U.S. are smuggled back to Central America. They are then matched up with other adults and make the journey all over again.
Anthony Porvaznik, the chief patrol agent in the Yuma Sector, in a video interview published by the Epoch Times newspaper, said, “Those are kids that are being ‘rented,’ for lack of a better word.”
Last week, Border Patrol agents in the El Paso Sector discovered the case of a child who had been recycled in at least two prior instances.
“Transnational criminal organizations continue to profit from individuals utilizing loopholes in our immigration system to commit fraud,” according to news release from CBP.
“These groups have no concern for the welfare or safety of the children and family groups being smuggled to the Southwest Border. The U.S. Border Patrol has continuously warned about the existence of this type of illicit activity and exploitation of minors.”
CNN reported under the 1997 Flores v. Reno settlement federal authorities may only detain unaccompanied migrant children for 20 days, then they must be released to parents, adult relatives or sanctioned programs.
In 2015, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, ruled that the Flores requirements apply to both unaccompanied minors and children apprehended with their parents.
The Washington Times reported this Flores settlement update makes deporting families with children seeking asylum virtually impossible.
Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw endorsed many of the actions President Donald Trump is taking to address the migrant crisis at the border in a recent interview with The Western Journal.
“We’ve created this massive incentive for people to just jump across the border and say, ‘Asylum, I have a kid with me, so you can’t deport me.’ This is what happens,” Crenshaw said.
Democrats, Crenshaw added, have been completely unwilling to address the migrant crisis.
“The most cynical interpretation of that would be they just want more voters,” Crenshaw said. “They think eventually they’ll let enough people in, it will tip the scale in their favor for votes. In the end, it’s all about power.”
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