Migrant children left to fend for themselves on the US-Mexico border
According to data from the US Border Patrol, in February this year, a total of 9,457 unaccompanied migrant children were detained at the border.
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“Can you help me? I was coming with a group of people and they threw me out, and I don’t know where they are. They left me dumped, ”said a minor who was abandoned to his fate on the United States border with tears on his face. In desperation, he asked a border agent for help, who recorded the video that is already circulating on social media.
“They dumped me,” the boy continued as he approached the patrol. The uniformed man asked about the whereabouts of his parents, but the minor assured that he was not accompanied.
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According to local media, the events occurred near the border between Mexico and the United States, in the state of Texas, near Rio Grande.
“I came in a group and in the end they dumped me. And he came here to ask for help. If not, where am I going to go? Help, ”the little boy reiterated.
The situation reflected in the previous video and that has already gone viral is not an isolated event. Just this Monday, two brothers aged six and five were thrown over the border wall in the town of Jacumba, United States, leaving the two minors abandoned and unprotected.
On this occasion, in the same way, border agents were witnesses of the action, so they helped the children, who carried a paper with their mother’s telephone number, in addition to having it engraved on their forearms with a marker, according to with San Diego County Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
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At around 3:00 in the afternoon, according to the report, agents observed a man and a woman walking through the rocky area south of the border accompanied by two children. Immediately, the minors were thrown to the side of the United States, and the adults fled.
“The children were transported to a nearby Border Patrol station for care and processing. At the station, the children provided officers with a handwritten note that had their mother’s name and phone number on it. The brothers also had their mother’s name and phone numbers written with a marker on their forearms, ”he explained in a CBP statement.
After obtaining the mother’s phone number, the agents managed to contact the woman and obtain more information about the children, who were transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services.
“It is inconceivable that anyone would abandon these young children and those responsible for smuggling events like this will be aggressively prosecuted,” said Chief Patrol Officer Aaron Heitke.
Both cases were registered in just the last week, but recently the media have reported multiple cases of migrant children traveling unaccompanied.
Shocking images left the case of the two Ecuadorian sisters aged three and five, who at the end of March were thrown from the top of the border wall (4 meters high) by the famous “polleros”.
These are just a few cases out of thousands, according to US Border Patrol data, since just in February of this year, a total of 9,457 unaccompanied migrant children were detained at the border with Mexico. That was the month with the highest arrests since May 2019 and far exceeds the previous pandemic months, which reflects the worsening of the migratory crisis that is taking place in North America, coming from Central America.
Migrant children are severely overcrowded
An independent audit confirmed that the facilities that house migrant children on the border with Mexico are “overwhelmed”, with acute overcrowding that has created unsafe conditions for thousands of minors in custody.
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In a report presented in federal court in Los Angeles, and made public by the US network CBS News, two inspectors appointed by a judge to monitor the conditions of minors detailed “severe overcrowding” at the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities. ) in South Texas.
Operation is impossible ”within detention facilities, the report states, calling the level of overcrowding“ not sustainable ”. In an overcapacity facility, “there were not enough caregivers for the 500 migrant children under 12 held there.”
There is also no physical distancing to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, and yet CBP’s facilities “have been stretched beyond the bare minimum,” said Andrea Sheridan, a court-appointed independent monitor, and Paul Wise, an expert. doctor.
Overcrowding is so widespread in the Donna, Texas, detention center that “there was no space between the mats that migrants use to sleep or in the spaces for walking, the report said.
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Bathrooms designed for a thousand-person occupancy are occupied all day, and some children reported that they received no showers for several days.
As of March 30, there were about 3,000 unaccompanied migrant children at Donna’s facility, including 2,500 minors who had been in border patrol custody beyond the legal 72-hour limit. About 500 of them were under 12 years of age.
The border patrol has deployed teams of assistant nurses to assess the migrants and provide necessary medical services, but it is an “unsustainable burden” for those staff working in Donna, Wise said.
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“This is compounded because they generally arrive in groups of up to 200, creating an immediate and sometimes overwhelming demand for intake interviews, health, exams and medical evaluations,” he added, which has created an unsafe environment for the children.
Donna’s facility was at 1,624 percent capacity in the pandemic, with modules to house 32 migrants under Covid protocols where there are more than 600 unaccompanied children.
With information from Erick Ramírez and Víctor Hugo Rico.