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April 25, 2019 06:19:15

US Border Patrol agents said they had found a three-year-old boy alone in a field in Texas after likely being abandoned during a crossing at the southern border with Mexico.

Key points:

  • Agents saw a group of migrants near the border, and when they approached the group scattered
  • Customs and Border Protection said the three-year-old boy had his name and number written on his shoes
  • CBP said agents were trying to find the boy’s family

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which operates the Border Patrol, said the boy’s name and a phone number were written on his shoes when agents found him on Tuesday morning.

CBP said the boy was crying and in distress when the agents found him near Brownsville, which is at the eastern edge of the US-Mexico border in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley.

A media release said they saw a group crossing the border early in the morning.

“As agents attempted to intercept the group, the suspected illegal aliens scattered in the overgrown field,” the statement read.

“Agents requested the assistance of a Border Patrol K9 team in an attempt to search the field and, in the process, located a child who was alone and crying.”

The agency said it was trying to reach the boy’s family and that the boy “does not speak well enough to communicate”.

The child will be sent to a “centralised processing centre” for unaccompanied minors operated by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

CBP said a Border Patrol agent purchased clothing for the child and that other officers watched movies and played games with him.

Border Patrol apprehended nearly 9,000 unaccompanied minors just in March, and more than 20,000 since January, the agency said, as border crossings surged.

The agency said Wednesday that it could not provide a breakdown by age.

Most minors are usually teenagers from Central America who travel north on their own, but some are young children who arrived with an adult relative or a human smuggler. And parents carrying infants or holding the hands of young children arrive daily.

Border Patrol said it does not have the staff or facilities to care for hundreds of children at a time after a surge of families crossing the border.

US authorities said the large-scale family separations that spurred outrage last year are no longer happening, Border Patrol said it still must take children from adults who are not biological parents or legal guardians or when it suspects fraud or neglect.

AP/ABC

Topics:

immigration,

community-and-society,

world-politics,

united-states,

mexico

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