A previously deported Honduran national attempted to illegally re-enter the United States by utilizing a six-month-old boy as a “fake” son to make a fraudulent family claim, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials allege. ICE agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) determined there was no familial relationship between the man and the little boy.
Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol agents apprehended the man after he waded across the Rio Grande with an infant child in his arms near Hidalgo, Texas, on May 7, according to ICE. Agents said the migrant claimed the boy as his own and presented what later turned out to be a fraudulent birth certificate. Agents at the McAllen Central Processing Station became suspicious of the parent-child relationship and turned them over to HSI.
During interviews with ICE, the man identified as Amilcar Guiza-Reyes, a 51-year-old from Honduras, reportedly admitted he obtained the fraudulent birth certificate to establish a father-son relationship. He further stated he intended to use the child to “further his unlawful entry into the U.S.,” ICE officials stated.
“Cases like this demonstrate the real danger that exists to children in this disturbing new trend,” HSI Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa Erichs said in a written statement. “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.”
“Frankly, it’s disgusting,” Acting ICE Director Matthey T. Albence said in a phone interview with Breitbart News. “But, it’s not something that we’re surprised about, unfortunately. We’ve been saying for several years that when we talk about the humanitarian crisis on the border, it’s not just the number of family units and unaccompanied children that are coming to the border illegally, it’s a fact that, based on the laws that Congress has failed to fix, they have created an industry the smuggling and rental of children.”
“These kids are being released and sent back across the border, whether it’s to Mexico or to the Northern Triangle and being utilized again for this exact same purpose.” the acting ICE director explained.
Guiza-Reyes, who was previously deported in 2013, now faces a host of federal charges related to his illegal re-entry after removal and the fraudulent use of documents and a six-month-old boy to attempt to defraud the U.S. asylum and immigration system, officials stated. The charges include a violation of 8 USC 1324, alien smuggling, for allegedly smuggling a 6-month-old infant across the U.S.-Mexico Border.
In addition to the fraudulent family claims, Director Albence said there is also a problem where migrants in their early 20s attempt to pass themselves off as minors.
“That way they’ll get released to Health and Human Services and eventually get released to a sponsor,” Albence stated. “Not only do you have that issue at the border, but you also have a safety issue in the HHS shelters where you have 22- and 23-year-old adults sharing facilities with 14- and 15-year-old kids. That’s an untenable situation, and it’s one that Congress can fix very easily by making a few minor changes to existing laws.”
In an effort to detect and deter these attempts at false family claims, ICE deployed dozens of teams of HSI special agents, Breitbart News reported in April. In early results, ICE told Breitbart News on Thursday that about 25 percent of the cases investigated by HSI resulted in the determination of false family claims. The agency is also testing a “rapid DNA” program to quickly prove or disprove claimed parent-child relationships.
“Along with the DNA testing, we have 130 special agents that have been detailed to the border,” the director explained. “Many of them are trained forensic-interviewers and intelligence analysts. We are working these cases both domestically and internationally to identify these smuggling rings and put them out of business.”
“The investigation on this case is still ongoing, but we’ve time and time again seen cases like this in which where the children are pawns in this terrible process,” Albence concluded. “They’re safety and well-being is of no consequence to the smugglers.”
From the beginning of the deployment of HSI investigators to the border in mid-April until May 10, HSI special agents conducted 562 family unit interviews. The interviews resulted in the discovery of 95 fraudulent family claims and more than 176 fraudulent documents or claims, ICE officials reported. Adults identified in these fraudulent cases will all be turned over to the Department of Justice for prosecution for “family fraud-related crimes including: immigration crime, identity and benefit fraud, alien smuggling, human trafficking, and child exploitation,” officials reported.
Guiza-Reyes made an initial appearance in federal court on May 10, ICE officials stated.
In a criminal complaint obtained by Breitbart News, Guiza-Reyes allegedly told investigators he planned to travel to Virginia to see his son, Freddy Amiclar Guiza-Hernandez. Investigators said Guiza-Reyes told them that he was “not the father of the child and was only transporting the child in order to successfully gain entry into the United States.”
The criminal complaint does not say what Guiza-Reyes planned to do with the child after he arrived in Virginia.