A growing number of illegal immigrants are posing as children in an effort to avoid deportation — with close to 700 juvenile impostors nabbed in the El Paso, Texas, area alone since October, the Border Patrol said.
In the last week, 10 illegal immigrants claiming to be under 18 have been caught by the feds, the agency said Friday.
Illegal immigrants try to pass themselves off as children, knowing that unaccompanied minors who reach the US’s southern border don’t get deported immediately.
Instead, they are placed into the care of the federal government until the minor can be reunited with family in the US or eventually sent back to their home country if they don’t have family here.
The child impostors were sniffed out in three separate incidents last week in the El Paso area, officials said. In one case last week, two underage-wannabes were actually smuggled into the country with a group of real children. When agents detained the group at the border Wednesday, they believed they had eight minors from Guatemala. As agents interviewed members of the group, they realized one was actually a 22-year-old man and another a 19-year-old woman.
In a second incident, three men from Guatemala — ages 26, 25 and 18 — claimed to be minors when they were first detained by Border Patrol agents. Their story fell apart Wednesday as agents who were questioning them noticed discrepancies in the documents they presented as proof of age.
Counterfeit documents were also used in a third case, when three Guatemalans, ages 21, 22 and 22, also lied to the agents about their age on Tuesday.
The impostors could be hit with fines or prison time.
In the El Paso area alone, agents have found at least 665 adult migrants posing as minors since October.
“Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCO) exploit migrants convincing them to pose as minors in order to be processed as such,” said El Paso Sector Border Patrol Chief Gloria I. Chavez. “Identity fraud is a common tactic used by TCOs to take advantage of migrants who do not know the legal consequences of their actions as they attempt to deceive authorities.”
SOURCE: New york post
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