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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Shelter worker admits to housing illegal teen after escape from facility

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A 24-year-old Brownsville resident has pleaded guilty for her role in an alien smuggling incident involving a juvenile resident of the Southwest Key facility, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Karla Izaguirre appeared in federal court today and admitted she harbored an underage undocumented boy from Honduras.

Izaguirre was an employee of Southwest Key, a government-sponsored shelter, where she had been professionally trained to work and care for illegal alien juveniles. The teen was an unaccompanied minor who entered the United States illegally and was under Southwest Key’s supervision.

On July 5, 2019, the facility sponsored an outing at the Harlingen Arts and Heritage Museum. While there, the juvenile fled on foot.

The investigation led to Izaguirre. Authorities subsequently arrested her, at which time she acknowledged knowing the minor boy was illegally present in the United States and helping to plan the escape. She also admitted she harbored him in her own home for approximately three months.

U.S. District Judge Fernando Rodriguez accepted the plea and set sentencing for Dec. 8. At that time, Izaguirre faces up to five years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine. She will remain in custody pending that hearing.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nikki Piquette is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Immigration
Component(s): 
Updated September 1, 2020