(Phoenix, Arizona) Child smuggling across the southern U.S. border is an ongoing and disturbing business.
Last year, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona initiated 49 cases against suspected child smugglers and an additional 21 were launched through the first six months of this year.
The penalties for smugglers hardly compare with the dangers the infants and small children face when they're brought across the border with strangers, said John Roll, chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Arizona.
"They don't know where the children are coming from,and they don't know what awaits the children," Roll said of the smugglers. "It's all the difference in the world smuggling an adult vs. a 4-year-old or a 6-year-old."
Apparently, what's happening is the parents trek across the desert to get into the U.S. without their kids, since the young likely wouldn't survive the desert, and later the parents hire professional human smugglers, who typically don't know the parents, to get the kids into the country.
Logically, to stifle the influx of smuggled children, one would focus more resources on preventing the parents from sneaking into and staying in the United States. But that's just one circumstance. There certainly must be cases where orphaned children are smuggled into the U.S. and bartered for who knows what.
In any event, despite how the child smuggling comes about, it's despicable.