Border patrol agents are lamenting the increasing number of migrants who seek to avoid long-term custody by bringing children across the border and pretending to be their parents.
Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Raul Ortiz told Fox News that since the “Flores Agreement” there are limits to how long agents can hold immigrant children, and consequently, their parents, as well. Many migrants are motivated to pretend they are parents in order to gain access and quick freedom inside the United States.
This often results in vulnerable children being exploited as a “commodity” on both sides of the border.
“We really are concerned, especially for those tender-age children, because quite often they can’t communicate that they’re not with a family member,” said Ortiz. “At no point should a child be placed in any harm or danger, and that’s exactly what’s happening. They’re being used as a commodity to circumvent a loophole.”
Ortiz told Fox News that his agency reported 600 cases of fake documents used in the Rio Grande Valley alone.
Fox News reports:
Recently, border patrol agents rescued a 4-month-old Honduran child from a man falsely identifying himself as her father. In an interview with officials, he admitted purchasing the fraudulent document. Agents later discovered it wasn’t the illegal immigrant’s first time using a child to avoid long-term federal custody. In 2013, records revealed he smuggled an 8-year-old child across the border, claiming he was the father. They were released from federal custody because they received a family unit designation.
Although the exact circumstances of each case weren’t always clear, seven of 102 instances of children under 5 who were separated from their guardians were traveling with an adult who was not their parent, Fox News reports.