Video released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection showed a young boy asking an officer for help after the child was apparently left abandoned in Texas by a group of migrants he was traveling with.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said Wednesday in a statement that a Rio Grande Border Patrol agent found the 10-year-old boy last Thursday near La Gruilla – not far from the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Scenes like these are all too common, as smugglers continue to abandon children in desolate areas, with zero regard for their well-being,” a CBP spokesperson said.
The department said the boy from Nicaragua was distraught and crying after waking up and realizing he was left behind.
The footage shows the child alone in the middle of the road before a Border Patrol officer stops his vehicle. The boy told the officer he was looking for help because he was abandoned.
“I came looking because I didn’t know where to go, and they can also rob or kidnap me or something,” he told the officer.
The agent took the boy to a Border Patrol facility where he was fed and medically screened. The boy will be transferred to the custody of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Refugee Resettlement. HHS is charged with the long-term care of most unaccompanied children.
This latest video comes almost a week after CBP released footage of alleged smugglers dropping two young girls from Ecuador from the top of a 14-foot barrier in the New Mexico desert. The video shows the alleged smuggler and another person run away and abandon the girls, aged 3 and 5, on the north side of the international boundary line. A Border Patrol official told a local station in El Paso that they’re working to reunite the girls with their mother in the U.S.
Smugglers seemingly advertising to migrants
U.S. officials encountered nearly 19,000 unaccompanied children along the southern border in March, a record monthly high. The Biden administration claims it is moving hundreds a day out of Border Patrol stations and tent facilities.
After visiting the sites, an independent monitor concluded in a report filed Friday that the U.S. government facilities holding migrant children along the border with Mexico are “stretched beyond thin,” saying overcrowding has created unsafe conditions for thousands of minors in U.S. custody.
Additional reporting by Camilo Montoya-Galvez and Nicole Sganga.