Children are being rented, bought, recycled, and kidnapped so that single adults, mostly men from Central America, can gain quick release into the United States after crossing the border illegally.
The cost of renting a child varies.
“We’ve had indications … that it could cost anywhere from a few hundred—or even in some cases, less than $100—up to $1,000 or more,” said Kevin McAleenan, acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), during a congressional hearing on July 18.
McAleenan said in one case, a 51-year-old illegal alien had purchased a 6-month-old baby for $80 in Guatemala so that he could easily get into the United States. The man, a Honduran national, confessed to border agents when he was faced with a DNA test.
“We’ve seen all manner of smuggling organizations communicating to potential customers and to those crossing the border how to bring a child with them to be allowed to stay in the United States,” McAleenan said. “They’ve been active in advertising, literally on Facebook and on the radio in Central America.”
Homeland Security Investigations, a division of ICE, sent 400 agents to El Paso and Rio Grande Valley, Texas, in mid-April to interview families that Border Patrol suspected were fake. In the last eight weeks, HSI special agents have identified 5,500 fraudulent families—about 15 percent of all cases referred.
McAleenan said agents have uncovered 921 fake documents and 615 individuals have been prosecuted for trafficking or smuggling a child.
“That tells me that we might be scratching the surface of this problem and the number of children being put at risk might be even higher,” he said.
“Everybody knows that if they bring a child, they’ll be allowed to stay in the United States—they call it a ‘passport for migration.’ I heard that directly from a gentleman from Huehuetenango, the western-most province of Guatemala.”
He said almost every summary of the cases he has seen mentions the same thing:
“The subject stated that he made the attempt because he heard in his hometown that anyone traveling to the United States with a child will be released.”
The southern border has become so overwhelmed that most illegal aliens don’t even claim credible fear for asylum anymore, knowing they’ll still be released expeditiously into the United States—especially if they have a child.