CBP Officers in Southern Texas Foil Child Smuggling Attempt, Pharr Woman Arrested
Hidalgo, Texas- U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Hidalgo port of entry arrested a Pharr, Texas woman on an alleged attempt to smuggle a 5-year-old child on Friday.
On April 6, CBP officers working at the pedestrian lanes at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge encountered a 21-year-old female United States citizen from Pharr, Texas accompanied by her alleged 5-year-old female sister. The woman presented a U.S. passport card for herself and a State of Texas birth certificate for the minor child. A CBP officer referred them both into secondary for further investigation and document review. In secondary, officers discovered that the minor female child was not related to the female traveler and was not a U.S. citizen but in fact a citizen and national of Guatemala without documents to enter or reside in the United States.
The adult female traveler was incarcerated pending appearance before a U.S. Federal Magistrate on criminal charges for violation of U.S. immigration law. The minor child was released to a U.S. Health and Human Services-Office of Refugee Resettlement facility where she will be temporarily housed.
"While the vast majority of the smuggling attempts uncovered at the port of entry involve citizens from Mexico, from time to time we do encounter smuggling attempts involving citizens from Central and South America," said Port Director Efrain Solis Jr. "Human smuggling, especially of minors and infants, is a serious violation of U.S. immigration law for which CBP has no tolerance. Violators will be punished to the fullest extent of the law."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.