U.S. Border Patrol Agents in the El Paso Sector recently identified 10 adults posing as unaccompanied minors while in custody.
Three adults posing as minors were discovered by agents at the El Paso Sector Central Processing Center while attempting to use counterfeit documentation. These individuals were from Guatemala and include a 21-year-old female, a 22-year-old female and a 22-year-old male. The three were part of a group of 13 migrants encountered by agents of El Paso Station on August 16. The three were encountered, along with nine unaccompanied children from Guatemala and one adult. These individuals posed as minors in order to avoid expulsion.
On August 17, agents assigned to the CPC discovered three males from Guatemala intentionally posing as minors. The individuals, 26-year-old, 25-year-old, and 18-year-old were part of a group of nine migrants that illegally entered the United States and were encountered by agents from El Paso Station. The individuals were questioned at the CPC after agents detected discrepancies between their story and the documentation they presented to pass as minors.
A third significant event occurred when agents assigned to Ysleta Station discovered a group of eight unaccompanied minors from Guatemala crossing the border illegally on August 17. Two individuals from this group, a 22-year-old male and a 19-year-old female were discovered as imposters once they were questioned by agents at the CPC and after detecting discrepancies during their interviews.
Individuals who attempt to pose as unaccompanied children may face charges under 18 USC 1001 (False Statements to Federal Agents) and 18 USC 371 (Conspiracy to Defraud the U.S.) among other charges for illegally entering the United States. Penalties can include fines and imprisonment. Investigative efforts by El Paso Sector Border Patrol Agents have resulted in the detection of more than 665 adult migrants posing as minors during FY2022.
“Transnational Criminal Organizations exploit migrants convincing them to pose as minors in order to be processed as such” said El Paso Sector Border Patrol Chief Gloria I. Chavez. “Identity fraud is a common tactic used by TCOs to take advantage of migrants who do not know the legal consequences of their actions as they attempt to deceive authorities.”