A Guatemalan man previously convicted of sexual assault, along with other criminal charges, and his two daughters were detained at an El Paso port of entry after allegedly using an altered birth certificate to cross into the U.S.
A 45-year man, his 18-year-old and 9-year-old daughters attempted to cross into the U.S. on Jan. 31 at the Bridge of the Americas Port of Entry, U.S. Border Patrol officials said.
The man gave agents birth certificates for his daughter with one claiming that his 18-year-old daughter was 17 years old, officials said.
Agents noticed inconsistencies with the birth certificate and were skeptical of the daughter’s age, officials said.
After checking with the Guatemalan consulate, it was determined that the oldest daughter was actually 18 years old and not a minor.
The man then admitted to officers that the birth certificate was altered to show his daughter was 17 in order to keep the family together and avoid deportation, officials said.
A criminal background check was then conducted on the man, whose name was not released.
The background check revealed that the man was previously convicted of sexual assault. He was sentenced to 45 days in prison and then departed in 2008.
The man also had been arrested in the past for driving under the influence, fraud, driving with a suspended license and possession of forged instruments, officials said.
Immigration checks also allegedly revealed that the man had last attempted to enter the U.S. illegally in 2017. He was arrested and deported that same year, officials said.
The man remains detained on pending criminal and immigration charges, officials said.
The two girls will be processed as a family unit and present their immigration case to an immigration judge, officials said.
“Smugglers and criminals continue efforts to exploit the immigration system by using stolen or fraudulent documents in order to avoid arrest or deportation,” U.S. Border Patrol officials said in a statement.
© 2019 the El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas)
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