CBS DFW, July 1, 2014
With the oppressive summer heat “it’s going to be very, very dangerous in this part of the country to have young kids women and other folks to come in,” says Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo, TX).
On Monday a South Texas sheriff announced the discovery of a 11 year old Guatemalan boys body about a mile from the border. Cuellar said the discovery of the boys body reinforces just how perilous the journey is into the US.
“Certainly I hope they stop coming because we probably will have more deaths as the hot weather continues,” says Cuellar. “It’s not just the heat that could kill them but there are other dangers. Officials at Lackland Air Force Base told us that one-third of young girls that come across–and they were just like little babies; 10, 11, 14 years of age. That about one third of them get raped and/or abused on the way here.”
Cuellar says that as he was speaking to Customs and Border Patrol agents he was also discovering a disturbing trend of adults “renting” children in Central America in order to increase their chances of being able to stay in the U.S. once they cross over.
“I was talking to somebody that worked for Border Patrol, and he said that in the late 80′s there were a lot of kids from El Salvador coming in and what they were doing is they had a ‘rent-a-kid’ program.” says Cuellar “In other words they said ‘oh if I come in and I have a kid with me they’ll let me go.” And the Border Agent told him “Henry, I’m seeing this again, I cannot believe it.”
“This is a phenomenon that has gone on for years if not decades,” says George Grayson a Professor of Latin American Politics at William & Mary. “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.”