Central American immigrants streaming into Texas have begun to use some devious strategies to stay in the United States, officials tell 1200 WOAI news.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) says the adult immigrants are playing 'rent a kid,' appearing at the border with a child, sometimes actually a child they have paid for who they have never seen before, hoping to be allowed to stay in the U.S.
"They think, if I come in and I have a kid with me, then they'll let me go," Cuellar told Newsradio 1200 WOAI's Michael Board.
He says the law says immigrants over the age of 14 are supposed to be locked up, but those under 14 are supposed to be released. Cuellar says the smugglers are hoping that the Border Patrol and other officials won't want to 'break up families.'
"Some of them are biological parents, but some of them are coming with a random child because they know they'll be released if they come with a kid," Cuellar said.
He says the hope is that the Border Patrol will let the adult go free along with the child, when otherwise the adult would have been held for deportation.
Cuellar says this same thing happened in the eighties, when a rush of illegal immigrants fleeing the Civil War in El Salvador.
"The Border Patrol at that time called it 'the Rent a Kid strategy'," he said.