Illegal Immigrants ‘Rent’ Children to Receive Safe Passage in the U.S.

by Ryan Lovelace

Texas congressman Henry Cuellar (D.) says illegal immigrants traveling from Central America “rent” children to gain access to the United States. “I was talking to somebody that worked for Border Patrol, and he said that in the late 80s there were a lot of kids from El Salvador coming in and what they were doing is they had a ‘rent-a-kid’ program.” Cuellar told 1080 KRLD. “In other words they said, ‘Oh if I come in and I have a kid with me they’ll let me go.’” Cuellar said a Border Patrol agent went on to say, “Henry, I’m seeing this again, I cannot believe it.”

Smugglers along the southern border have been known to accept fees in order to provide secure passage for illegal-immigrant children, but Cuellar’s comments suggest a growing trend of people paying families to use their children as a shield to enter the United States. “This is a phenomenon that has gone on for years if not decades,” George Grayson, a Professor of Latin American Politics at William & Mary, told KRLD. “As far as I know they pay the families (and remember these economies are in sad shape), and therefore to get maybe a few hundred dollars you’re willing to give up your 7th or 8th child.”

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