Two Migrant Toddlers Found at Texas Border

Toddlers Del Rio
CBP

DEL RIO, Texas — Border Patrol agents in Eagle Pass located two unaccompanied migrant toddlers among a group of unrelated migrants arrested near the banks of the Rio Grande Wednesday. The one and four-year-old are two of the more than 300 encountered by Border Patrol that day.

Border Patrol will now work to identify the toddlers and transfer custody to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Ultimately, the toddlers will be released to relatives or sponsors. Although the number of unaccompanied migrant children in custody is dropping off from a record high in 2021, HHS is still holding more than 9,000 awaiting domestic sponsors.

The number of encounters of unaccompanied migrant children on the border is staggering. Nearly 5,000 unaccompanied migrant children were released to sponsors in January 2022, according to HHS. Last fiscal year, HHS released 119,228. This number does not include migrant children who are citizens of Mexico who are returned to their home country.

Much like the record-breaking number of apprehensions made by the Border Patrol last year, the number of unaccompanied migrant children also pales in comparison to previous records. The migrant children account for nearly 9 percent of all southwest border migrant apprehensions.

According to a Congressional Research Service report, the likely cause of the surge in the apprehension of unaccompanied migrant children is related to the discontinuance of their removal from the United States under the CDC Emergency Title 42 COVID-19 order. The Biden Administration discontinued removing unaccompanied migrant children under the emergency authority in February 2021. Once the consequence of a swift expulsion to Mexico was halted, an immediate surge followed.

Although the administration discontinued the expulsions of unaccompanied migrant children from the country, the removal of some migrant family units under the emergency order continued. The report indicates this resulted in family units voluntarily sending their children alone, contributing significantly to the rise in unaccompanied migrant children.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.

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