A man allegedly paid a family the equivalent of $130 to ‘rent’ a boy so he could cross into the United States ‘as a family.’
According to reports, a Guatemalan man seeking asylum at the southern border thought it would be “easier to get into the United States with a child.” That’s when he decided to ask the family if he could borrow their 9-year-old until he crossed.
Maynor Velasquez Molina reportedly traveled with the boy in a group of 100 others who crossed the border on February 18th. The group crossed just west of the Lukeville Port of Entry.
Federal prosecutors said that Molina also allegedly paid an additional person the same cost to have a fake birth certificate made.
“After being processed in the Tucson Sector, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents began talking to the man and eventually learned he paid for the use of the boy and for the false documents used in the smuggling case,” said one report.
Border officials have claimed that over 700 fraudulent family cases have been flagged in border crossings since October of 2018.
Other cases of fraudulent crossings have been said to include those who have paid for fake birth certificates or even lied to officials claiming to be unaccompanied minors when in fact they were adults.
Sentences for these attempts have yet to lead to very strict punishments.
The Arizona Daily Star reportedly found only 53 prosecutions for false family claims and 15 cases of adults using fraudulent birth certificates to try and pass as a minor since June 2018. Of those, all but 3 cases resulted in quick pleas for illegally crossing the border where the migrants received sentences ranging from a few days to about 6 weeks.
“Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is redirecting resources to the border in response to cases of fake families using forged documents to enter our country and avoid detention. Our highly-skilled teams are working to stop individuals, networks and organizations facilitating child smuggling and document fraud,” ICE Acting Director Matthew Albence said in a written statement. “ICE along with our partners at CBP, remain committed to protecting children by ensuring they are not used as pawns by individuals attempting to gain entry to the U.S. through fraud.”
After questioning over 100 people in 2 weeks, 25% of potential fraud was uncovered in the interviews.
“This fraud may include the use of forged birth certificates or other fraudulent documents to establish parentage,” officials stated in a press release on Tuesday. “Forged or other fraudulent documents are also being used by adult illegal aliens to falsely claim they are minors under the age of 18.”
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