by WorldTribune Staff, June 16, 2023
A 28-year-old illegal immigrant and her mother have been arrested after the daughter was enrolled in a Louisiana high school posing as a 17-year-old, authorities said.
Martha Jessenia Gutierrez-Serrano attended a year of classes as a ninth-grade student at Hahnville High School, according to St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne.
Gutierrez-Serrano and her mother, Marta Elizeth Serrano-Alvarado, 46, are facing a charge of injuring public records after their arrest this week, The Western Journal reported on Friday.
If found guilty of the charges, Serrano-Alvarado and Gutierrez-Serrano each face up to five years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.
Serrano-Alvarado is accused of using a fake passport and Honduran birth certificate to enroll her daughter in classes at the high school in the New Orleans suburb of Boutte.
Serrano-Alvarado had resided in the United States for “a number of years” after her immigration visa expired, Sheriff Champagne said.
Gutierrez-Serrano entered the United States in the fall of 2021, Champagne said, adding that she “wanted to become proficient in English and perhaps further her education, which I think we can all be sympathetic with.”
“Unfortunately,” Champagne said, “whether it was her decision or her mother’s decision, it’s certainly bad judgment to submit a falsified document to the government.”
An anonymous tip alerted authorities to the possibility of an adult woman attending high school classes at Hahnville High School.
The school said it is revising its policies after the alleged fraud.