Mexican authorities are investigating several reports of illegal immigrants trying to buy children to enter the United States, and obtain family unit benefits.
According to testimony gathered by the Seattle Times from locals and the police, some groups are offering hundreds of dollars to single mothers for their children in shelters in Tijuana.
In the United States, the Flores Agreement established that if immigrants who enter with their children illegally are detained, they can only be held in custody for 20 days before their release, while the courts continue to resolve their cases. By contrast, unmarried illegal immigrants can remain under arrest for much longer while they are being prosecuted.
Antonia Portillo Cruz, a 44-year-old Honduran migrant, said some individuals have been asking at the shelter where she is staying, but she fears that petitions and offers of money will turn into lawsuits or kidnappings. “They want to steal our children to enter the United States,” she said.
“Of course, women have not accepted any of these offers, but it is clearly a great concern for the danger it poses to children,” emphasized the Rev. Gustavo Banda, director of the Los Embajadores shelter in Tijuana.
He assured that several illegal immigrants are also offering money to single mothers to enter the United States pretending to be a family unit.
“I couldn’t even imagine the horror before I came here”
“It’s horrible,” said a 15-year-old Haitian girl. “I couldn’t even imagine the horror before coming here. I wonder what will happen to the children once they get across. It’s not like their mother or father will be taking care of them.”
In 2018, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen warned that as soon as the loophole benefiting parents and guardians became public, attempts by fraudulent families to enter the country skyrocketed.
An official told the Washington Examiner a few weeks ago that a DNA confirmation program launched by the border patrol at the entrances to McAllen and El Paso, Texas, showed that 30% of illegal immigrant groups presenting themselves as families were not, and that adults were not related to children.
President Trump warned about this problem long ago, and has long called for a dialogue between Republicans and Democrats to design fairer laws that control the entry of immigrants in an orderly and humane manner. He argues that children used by human traffickers are one of the groups most harmed by the lack of agreement, because they can end up being sexually abused or worse.
It is worth mentioning that a report from the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the United States Senate revealed in 2018 that illegal immigrant children arriving at the border were handed over to criminals, abusers, and exploiters during the Obama administration’s immigration crisis in 2014.