Hidalgo, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Field Operations officers at the Hidalgo International Bridge arrested a woman from Pharr, Texas on alleged child smuggling violations.
On Thursday evening, November 8, 2012 CBP officers at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge encountered a 31-year-old female United States citizen accompanied by a minor female. The adult female presented a U.S. passport card for herself and a U.S. birth certificate for the minor child, who she claimed was her daughter. A CBP officer referred them both to secondary for further document review after detecting inconsistencies in the travelers' declarations. In secondary officers discovered that the adult female was not related to the minor child and that the child was in fact a nine-year-old citizen from El Salvador without any documents to enter or reside legally 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 female was released to a U.S. Health and Human Service-Office of Refugee Resettlement facility where she will be temporarily housed.
"Our officers' exceptional sense of awareness and outstanding observational skills have enabled us to detect and foil this failed child smuggling attempt," said Efrain Solis Jr., Port Director, Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. "The well-being of children is of utmost concern for us at CBP."
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 official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.