ICE: Man Who Attempted to Cross Border With Unrelated Six Month Old Baby Represents ‘Unprecedented Level of Child Endangerment’
A 51-year-old Honduran man has been detained after attempting to smuggle an unrelated six-month-old infant into the United States last week, in an attempt to help him gain easier entry.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents have described the man’s actions as “an unprecedented level of child endangerment.”
The actions of illegal alien Amilcar Guiza-Reyes is part of an “increasing trend of fraudulent families presenting at the border in order to take advantage of loopholes in immigration laws and avoid being detained by immigration authorities,” according to a statement from ICE.
“Cases like this demonstrate the real danger that exists to children in this disturbing new trend,” said HSI Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa Erichs. “And while we have seen egregious cases of smugglers renting and recycling children, this case involving a six-month-old infant is a new low – and an unprecedented level of child endangerment.”
Guiza-Reyes was previously deported in 2013 and was caught attempting to cross the Rio Grande River from Mexico into the U.S. near Hidalgo, Texas, carrying the infant on May 7.
Initially, Guiza-Reyes claimed that the baby was his son, but admitted to the HSI agents that he had lied after presenting a fraudulent Honduran birth certificate for him. He also fessed up to attempting to use the baby as a prop to help him get across the border.
The use of children as props for entry has been increasing in recent times. ICE reports that “between mid-April and May 10, HSI special agents interviewed 562 family units who presented indicia of fraud. Of those interviewed, 95 fraudulent families were identified. More than 176 fraudulent documents or claims have also been uncovered.”
“Our goals remain twofold: One, to protect children from being smuggled across the border by ensuring they are with their parents and not being used as pawns by individuals attempting to exploit immigration loopholes,” said Erichs. “And two, to identify and stop the criminal organizations that are generating false documents and supporting child smuggling.”
The infant is now in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.
“The adults involved in this fraud will be presented to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for federal prosecution for family fraud related crimes including: immigration crime, identity and benefit fraud, alien smuggling, human trafficking and child exploitation,” the statement concludes.