- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Two Central Americans who claimed to need asylum in the U.S. were caught trying to smuggle a relative into the country this week, federal authorities said Tuesday.

Edy Giovanni Fuentes-Alvarado and Kenia Yamileth Gomez-Caballero — a husband and wife — went through a Border Patrol checkpoint in southern California on Sunday.

During an immigration inspection the couple, from El Salvador, said they had already applied for asylum and were awaiting a decision. The husband then said they were looking to try to pick up his wife’s illegal immigrant cousin who was somewhere near the checkpoint.

According to court documents, after getting permission to look at Mr. Fuentes’ phone, agents discovered text messages detailing the cousin’s movements and a GPS location where the couple was to pick him up.

Agents then tracked down the cousin and found him with another illegal immigrant, both of whom were waiting to be picked up.

The criminal complaint filed in the case did not go into details, but smugglers often will drop illegal immigrants off before a border checkpoint then have a driver pick them up on the other side of the checkpoint.

The noteworthy aspect of this case was the involvement of Central American asylum-seekers.

President Trump has declared a border emergency in part because of the surge of illegal immigrants from Central America attempting to enter the U.S. and demanding asylum.

They generally claim to fear gang violence back home. Though few of them will ultimately succeed in their asylum claims, the system is so backed up that it can take several years for cases to be heard, and that gives many a chance to gain a foothold in the U.S. or to disappear into the shadows with other illegal immigrants.

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