After crossing the Rio Grande River in Texas, a scared little boy spent the night in an area of the desert riddled with rattlesnakes and wild animals. He begged for help in a heartbreaking video recorded by a U.S. Border Patrol officer with tears streaming from his eyes.
According to a report, he cautiously approaches the car of an off-duty Border Patrol agent on his way home on a dirt road and asks for assistance.
“I came with a group.” The boy said in Spanish, “They dumped me, and I don’t know where they are,” as he choked back sobs in a video of the experience posted on Univision’s website last Thursday. “They can rob me, kidnap me. I am afraid.”
The boy, believed aged about 10–12 years, was taken to a Border Patrol station nearby.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 7, 2021
Gloria Chavez, the El Paso sector’s Border Patrol chief, warned that parents who were considering sending their unaccompanied children to the border should reconsider their decision because it was perilous to expose children.
In the fiscal year 2021, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) expects 184,000 unaccompanied minors to cross the U.S. border.
Though only an estimate, if correct, it would be the largest number of “unaccompanied alien children” ever recorded and more than double the 76,020 children detained during the 2019 border crisis. At the time, the media chastised the Trump administration over its handling of the crisis and child detention.
Reacting to this incident, Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke stated: “It is unconscionable that anyone would abandon these small children, and those responsible for smuggling events like this will be aggressively prosecuted.”
Nearly 5,000 children were in Border Patrol care as of last week, and over 13,000 were in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The spike in unaccompanied migrant children at the border has overburdened federal detention centers, and the Biden government has struggled to keep up with the influx of minors.
Though having rolled back stringent border measures from the previous administration, President Joe Biden attempted to blame natural disasters in Latin America and former President Trump for the migrant crisis at the U.S.–Mexico border on Wednesday, March 24.
Soon after, the administration announced on Tuesday that it was considering resuming construction of former President Donald Trump’s border wall, which Biden had halted when he took office in January.
Vice President Kamala Harris was tapped to lead the administration’s efforts to address migration issues at the border as it faces criticism for its lack of accountability at border facilities.