NBC News reported this week that agents of the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) discovered an abandoned three-year-old migrant boy that morning in a cornfield near Brownsville, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley. That article states:
Rudy Karish, the chief Border Patrol agent in the Rio Grande Valley, said he believes the boy was left by smugglers. Karish said he believes the boy was with a larger group. When the group was encountered by agents, the adults ran away and left the boy alone.
This story simply underscores the dangers that the administration is attempting to prevent through its border policies, and also my previously stated contention that "Smugglers Are Bad People".
To anyone familiar with illegal immigration, this is hardly news. It is, however, a story that is largely underreported in the media, which often prefers to focus on the harshness of immigration enforcement along the border instead.
NBC News stated that, according to authorities, the boy in question "was identified only by a phone number and his name written on his shoes." Efforts to find the boy's parents, however, have been unsuccessful, and he is being handed over to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Needless to say, this story raises many more questions than it answers. The most salient one is what would have happened had USBP not located the child when its agents did. Having been the father of a three-year-old boy, I can assure you that they are, more or less, defenseless in the best of situations. The picture accompanying that article suggests that the boy's discovery occurred before dawn on April 23. Discovery by anyone in a remote area in the pre-dawn hours would have been the boy's only hope for survival.
A recent report from the Homeland Security Advisory Council's CBP Families and Children Care Panel reveals that such humanitarian assistance is limiting USBP's core missions of apprehending illegal migrants, uncovering trafficking, and "monitoring the border for drug smuggling and other contraband." That report states that 40 percent of USBP resources "are currently absorbed in dealing with [the] crisis" of "[a]n unprecedented surge in family unit (FMU) migration from Central America." It is not clear if that figure includes the burden of assisting and caring for unaccompanied alien children (UAC), such as the unnamed three-year-old. I would note, however, that according to HHS, 15 percent of all UACs that came into its custody in FY 2018 were 12 years old or younger.
It is clear, however, that abandonment is not the only danger the children face along the border, nor is abandonment the only offense committed by smugglers. For example, the panel's report states: "In too many cases, children are being used as pawns by adult migrants and criminal smuggling organizations solely to gain entry into the United States." That report continues:
Migrant children are traumatized during their journey to and into the U.S. The journey from Central America through Mexico to remote regions of the U.S. border is a dangerous one for the children involved, as well as for their parent. There are credible reports that female parents of minor children have been raped, that many migrants are robbed, and that they and their child are held hostage and extorted for money.
Criminal migrant smuggling organizations are preying upon these desperate populations, encouraging their migration to the border despite the dangers, especially in remote places designed to overwhelm existing USBP infrastructure, and extorting migrants along the way thereby reaping millions of dollars for themselves and the drug cartels who also charge money to cross the border.
A substantial number of families and children are entering our country in remote areas of the border versus the [ports of entry], enduring dangerous and terrifying crossings in remote desert areas, across rivers, over fences, and through razor wire. These children increasingly require significant personal and medical care that exceeds the ability and capacity of CBP even with their current patchwork of contracted assistance.
Most disturbingly, that report indicates that "children are being re-cycled by criminal smuggling organizations, i.e., returned to Central America to accompany a separate, unrelated adult on another treacherous journey through Mexico to the U.S. border."
If any such abuses — abandonment, kidnapping, exploitation, or forced movement over harsh terrain — were being inflicted on any child in any major American city in the interior of the United States, it would be front-page news for days, and local officials, if not members of Congress, would be howling for an investigation and immediate response. That those abuses are being inflicted on migrant children smuggled over the border is largely ignored, however.
One could posit that this is because of the politically sensitive nature of immigration, particularly given the vehemence of the president's opponents with respect to his attempts to enforce the immigration laws at the border. Respectfully, however, that makes it all the more important for the media to report these atrocities, in order to give the public a full picture of the crisis plaguing that border, such that they and their representatives might make informed decisions. That hasn't happened.
It says in Isaiah: "And a little child shall lead them." It would be great to think that a three-year-old boy found abandoned in a cornfield in south Texas would lead the American people to a better understanding of the dangers at the border, and the need to close the loopholes that encourage parents to hire heartless criminals to smuggle their children to the United States. Unfortunately, this story is more likely to end in another quote from the prophet: "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness."