Early Wednesday morning, Border Patrol agents encountered two Guatemalan brothers, ages two and six, who had crossed into the United States without their families, with the names and phone numbers of their American contacts written on their shirts.
The boys were part of a larger group of 18 migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and Cuba who were met by agents near La Grulla, Texas, in the far south of the state in the Rio Grande Valley area.
“Many of the unaccompanied children encountered by the Border Patrol are very young and cannot provide names or phone numbers to family members,” the agency so in a news release.
Finding adequate contacts for such unaccompanied migrants means “agents must rely on information written on clothing or handwritten notes found among their property, adults in the group and/or the consulate in their home country,” the Border Patrol continued.
This year, the Border Patrol has encountered approximately 140,000 unaccompanied minors crossing into the United States, according to government statistics.
When federal officials encounter unaccompanied children, they are held in government custody until a family contact in the United States can be found or, barring that, transportation back to the migrants’ home country can be arranged.
The treatment of migrant children has returned to focus after the governors of Texas and Florida spent this year ferrying buses and planes full of migrants to liberal jurisdictions as a political stunt.
At least a dozen children, some newborns, were sent on such transports in recent weeks, according to one Independent analysis.
Meanwhile, unaccompanied adults entering the United States are often kicked out of the country before accessing their legally protected asylum rights under the controversial Trump-era Title 42 program.
The policy, a supposed pandemic measure cooked up by the Trump administration’s arch-immigration opponent Stephen Miller, allegedly over the protests of the CDCallows immigration officials to deny asylum seekers entry due to Covid.
According to a Pew analysis, the Biden administration has already done so carried out the vast majority of the approximately 2.2 meter long Title 42 deportations that have taken place since the policy came into force.
Deportations this year under the health rule, like the Biden administration renewed in August despite earlier plans to abandon it, it appears to be well on its way to topping the 1.07m achieved in 2021, according to the Border Patrol’s statistics.