As the migrant crisis on the U.S. southern border continues to escalate, authorities posted pictures showing two brothers, aged 2 and 6, they had found abandoned with no more than a note written on their clothing to identify them.
The toddler and his older brother were found by Border Patrol agents Tuesday morning near La Grulla, Texas among a group of 18 immigrants from Guatemala, including six other children crossing into the US without a legal guardian.
The young siblings had notes written on their t-shirts giving their names and contact information for a relative in the US.
“Many of the unaccompanied children encountered by Border Patrol are very young and unable to provide names or phone numbers of family members,” the Border Patrol said in a press release.
“To locate a (child’s) next of kin, agents must rely on information written on articles of clothing or handwritten notes found among their property, adults within the group, and/or the consulate of their home country.”
Unaccompanied minors who reach the US’s southern border don’t get deported immediately. The children are placed into the care of the federal government until the child can be sent to family in the US or, if it is determined they do not have family here, sent back to their home country.
That US policy has lead to 140,186 unaccompanied immigrant children arriving at the US southern border in 2022, according to Border Patrol statistics.
It’s also resulted in a growing number of illegal immigrants posing as children in an effort to avoid deportation — with close to 700 juvenile impostors nabbed in the El Paso, Texas, area alone since October, the Border Patrol said.
On September 19, border officials released figures showing they had arrested more than 2 million illegal immigrants in the past 11 months — a record high driven by a hike in migration from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, according to figures released by Customs and Border Protection.