United States Customs and Border Patrol in Arizona relayed a tragic tale on Twitter Sunday.
While on patrol Saturday afternoon, CBP agents came across a tiny 6-year-old Costa Rican boy crouched on the side of the road, clutching a dirty backpack. The child told Border Patrol that his "uncle" — likely a smuggler or human trafficker — had abandoned him in the extreme heat.
"Agents discovered the child west of Lukeville, Arizona and just north of the border, in temperatures over 100 degrees," a CBP agent spokesperson said in an official press release. "The child told agents he was dropped off by his uncle and that Border Patrol would pick him up. He added that he was on his way to see his mother in the U.S."
The incident, Border Patrol says, highlights the dangers child migrants face after being sent, usually alone, on a dangerous and illegal journey across the U.S.-Mexico border — echoing the words of the president who said Saturday on Twitter that the lack of border enforcement during the Obama Administration encouraged an increase in risky behavior.
According to current estimates from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, of the approximately 13,000 children in Border Patrol custody, around 11,000 are unaccompanied minors, sent from their homes in Mexico and Central America where their families are threatened by drug lords and crime bosses, and left in the care of unscrupulous "coyotes" who can earn as much as $4,000 per smuggled person.
Border Patrol says the child was found in "good condition" and was transported to an area hospital for treatment.