A deported Nicaraguan 10-year-old child and his family have been allowed into the United States after the mother split from her son and 15-year-old twin nephews, who were ultimately admitted to the country as unaccompanied children.
Wilto Obregón, the child, Meylin Obregón, the mother, and her brother Misael Obregón’s 15-year-old twin sons were all making the journey to the U.S. together. Misael, who already resided in the U.S., paid for the trip.
The mother’s maneuver gained international attention when an off-duty agent with U.S. Border Patrol, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency component, found her 10-year-old son lost, crying, and traveling alone on a road east of Rio Grande City, Texas.
Wilto said human traffickers abandoned him in the desert along the Texas-Mexico border where the off-duty U.S. Border Patrol officer found him, took him into custody, and ultimately reunited him with his mother, 15-year-old twin cousins, and uncle nearly two months later.
On Sunday, the Daily Mail reported:
The 10-year-old Nicaraguan boy has been reunited with his mother eight weeks after he was seen in a video crying to a U.S. Border Patrol agent for help.
Wilto Obregón, who was abandoned in the Texas desert after crossing the United States-Mexico border, left the Casa Padre shelter for migrant children in Brownsville, Texas.
On Friday, he was transferred to the custody of his mother, Meylin Obregón, and her brother Misael Obregón – a reunion captured in a YouTube video.
The Obregón family’s success in entering the United States, where they are waiting for an asylum hearing that can take years given the immigration court backlog, is a testament to the Biden administration’s unofficial migration-by-separation policy.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who oversees CBP and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, has made the little-understood process possible.
Likely due to the Trump-era pandemic control protocols (Title 42) kept in place by President Joe Biden, U.S. border authorities deported Wilto and his mother, Meylin Obregón, to Mexico when trying to illegally enter the country through Texas, rather than fly them to Nicaragua, as was the policy under President Donald Trump.
President Joe Biden has changed the way CBP applies Title 42. While claiming that the border is closed, the Biden administration is not applying Title 42 to unaccompanied children, some families, and even some adult migrants deemed vulnerable. Title 42 is meant to keep all migrants out during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
Although Misael Obregón’s 15-year-old twin sons traveled with their aunt and cousin when they all attempted to enter the U.S. illegally through Texas, CBP took the twins into custody as unaccompanied minors, but they sent the boy and his mother back to Mexico. It is unclear if the twins mislead the border authorities about traveling alone.
U.S. authorities reunited the father with his twin sons on April 6, the Daily Mail reported Sunday.
Under Biden, U.S. border authorities are not sending Title 42 removals back to their home countries thousands of miles away in Central America, rendering the American border a revolving door that allows those migrants to keep trying to cross again and again until they are successful given the lack of traditional penalties such as jail time and felony charges for repeat border crossers deported under the health protocol.
Moreover, Biden’s decision to exempt unaccompanied children from Title 42 removal has driven some Central American parents to smuggle their kids as unaccompanied children from Mexico by paying human traffickers, who are predominantly controlled by drug cartels and do not care about leaving anyone behind despite their age.
The parents believe that allowing the children to travel separately will improve their chances of reuniting with them in the United States.
Once in Mexico, Wilto Obregón, the boy, and his mother Meylin Obregón were reportedly kidnapped.
Misael Obregón, the mother’s brother, could only secure his nephew’s release after paying half of the $10,000 ransom by borrowing money from friends.
It appears that once free, Wilto attempted to make the journey into the U.S. again, this time alone. It is unclear where he got the money to pay the smugglers or if his lack of funds was why he was abandoned.
The kidnappers ultimately released the mother in mid-April. She went on to turn herself over to U.S. immigration officials and requested asylum, resulting in her transfer to a migrant shelter in Texas.
Lazaro Gutiérrez, the boy’s father, remained in Nicaragua with the couple’s other son. He urged the Nicaraguan government to petition the Biden administration to return Wilto.
“However, Gutiérrez relented after Meylin Obregón was released by the kidnappers, and he recognized his son’s wish to stay with his mother in the U.S.,” the Daily Mail noted.
Biden administration officials give work permits to asylum applicants while they wait, although there are no guarantees they will get asylum.