Border Patrol agents in El Paso have found and rescued a migrant child that they say was used multiple times by human smugglers to help strangers cross the border.
According to a report by Fox 14 in El Paso, United States Border Patrol agents intercepted a “family unit” crossing over on Wednesday.
Officials began questioning the members of the family, and found they had inconsistencies in their story. Agents suspected that the child was not related to the person claiming to be their parent.
Agents were able to confirm their suspicions, and had evidence that the child had been “recycled.” According to border patrol agents, human smugglers had used the child on at least two prior incidents of migrants crossing the border.
With the flood of migrants from central America, the U.S. government gives preferential treatment to families who claim asylum when they reach the border.
Because the immigration system is so overloaded, foreign nationals rfom family units awaiting an asylum hearing are often released, with the expectation that they show up to their hearing.
Migrants who cross the border as single individuals are more likely to face immediate deportation or be held in custody until their hearing before an immigration judge.
The use of “recycled” children to exploit immigration law loopholes is increasing. In some areas of the border, almost half of the children in supposed “family units” are not actually related to those adults claiming to be a parent. Border agents use the term “recycled” if it is a migrant child they have encountered before.
The nationality of the child is not known, and it appears the minor is in the custody of the Department of Immigration. Homeland Security Investigations is now looking into the case.
The discovery may have been the result of a new effort by ICE to identify “fake families” and stop the cycle of reusing innocent children to assist human smugglers.
“Fake families are being formed to cross our border and avoid detention,” ICE announced in a tweet on Monday. “ICE #HSI is working with @CBP to stop individuals, networks and organizations facilitating child smuggling and document fraud to illegally enter the U.S.”
Here is the tweet that announced the new investigative effort.
Fake families are being formed to cross our border and avoid detention. ICE #HSI is working with @CBP to stop individuals, networks and organizations facilitating child smuggling and document fraud to illegally enter the U.S.
— ICE (@ICEgov) April 29, 2019
In this video clip, acting ICE Director Matt Albence discusses the exploitation of loopholes in the immigration system.
“We’re sending human trafficking experts, document fraud experts, forensic interviewers, victim assistance specialists, because our first and primary goal is the safety and security of these children,” Albence said.
“These children are being victimized. We know they’re being trafficked, we know they’re being recycled and sent back across the border numerous times to be rented by these cartels and by these organizations to be utilized again and placed with a non-relative adult so that adult can be released because they know that we can’t hold them.”
WATCH: Acting ICE Director Matt Albence discusses how human smugglers are taking advantage of immigration loopholes. ICE is shifting resources and experts to the border to investigate child smuggling and document fraud used to exploit these loopholes. https://t.co/kyrS6IsKMj
— ICE (@ICEgov) April 29, 2019
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