A new revelation claims that a woman who entered the country illegally enrolled her 28-year-old daughter as a freshman at a school near New Orleans. The mother and daughter were able to pull off the scam for over a year before the school discovered the truth.
When it was discovered that “freshman” high school student Martha Jessenia Gutierrez-Serrano, 28, had registered using a fake passport and bogus Honduran birth certificate, she and her mother, Marta Elizeth Serrano-Alvarado, were both jailed on one count of harming public records. A fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years in jail may be imposed for each count.
The arresting sheriff told ABC News that Gutierrez-Serrano enrolled at Hahnville High academic in Boutte, Louisiana for the 2022-2023 academic year so that she could study English. Boutte is located roughly 25 miles west of New Orleans.
“She was in school, she minded her own business, she did her schoolwork, she caused no trouble,” St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said at a press conference Wednesday.
Marta Elizeth Serrano-Alvarado (left) and her 28-year-old daughter Martha Jessenia Gutierrez-Serrano were arrested in St. Charles Parish after officials say the mom used a false passport and birth certificate to enroll her daughter at Hahnville High as a 17-year-old.@FOX8NOLA pic.twitter.com/bWA5AA4tfD— Andrés Fuentes (@news_fuentes) June 15, 2023
Taken From ABC:
School officials launched an investigation after getting “a tip that a female student, who was on record as being 17 years old, was in fact an adult possibly in her mid 20’s,” the sheriff’s office said. School officials then relayed their findings to the authorities on May 29, the sheriff’s office said.
The fraudulent birth certificate, from Honduras, “looked just like a real birth certificate,” the sheriff said.
“Whether you’re a U.S. citizen, a foreign national, some type of immigrant — no matter what status — students are entitled a role in our public school system,” Champagne said. “Inquiring about their immigration status is not done.”
According to Champagne, the mother submitted the forged paperwork to school officials in an effort to continue her daughter’s education in the United States despite the fact that she had been living in the country for several years on an expired visa.
The mother “wanted to become proficient in English and perhaps further her education, which I think we can all be sympathetic with. Unfortunately, whether it was her decision or her mother’s decision, it’s certainly bad judgment to submit a falsified document to the government,” Champagne said.
The St. Charles Parish has issued a statement promising to improve its processes for checking enrollment paperwork.