File Photo: Jan Socho/CON, LatinContent/Getty Images
A previously deported MS-13 member used an infant as cover during his re-entry attempt. He used the child to pose as a “family unit.”
Border Patrol agents assigned to the Rio Grande Valley Sector encountered a man with a small child after he crossed the Rio Grande River near the border town of Penitas, Texas, late last week. Agents took the man and the child to the McAllen Station for processing, according to U.S. Border Patrol officials.
A records check revealed the Salvadoran man was previously deported from the U.S. The records also indicated that he is an active member of the Mara Salvatrucha gang (MS-13), Border Patrol officials stated.
Border Patrol officials removed the child from the man’s custody. The MS-13 member is being processed for deportation after a previous order of removal was reinstated. Officials said the child will remain in federal custody pending the conclusion of the father’s judicial process.
Border Patrol officials would not answer questions about whether the MS-13 member had any proof that he is the child’s father. They also would not say where the mother is or what will happen to the child if the man is prosecuted and sent to prison.
The timing of the Salvadoran man’s attempt to use the child could not have come at a worse time for him. On Monday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the federal government is ending the catch and release loophole established under President Barack Obama’s administration. The loophole allowed an adult crossing with a minor to be released from custody within 20 days of illegally crossing the border, Breitbart News’ Neil Munro reported.
“If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple,” Sessions stated. “If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.”
The MS-13 member could be prosecuted for illegal re-entry after removal. If convicted, he could be subjected to a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.