Migrant boy in tears found by Border Patrol amid reports of families ‘self-separating’

Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 1:24 AM EDT
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(CNN) - Amid reports that families are “self-separating” at the border in hopes of getting their children into the United States, Customs and Border Protection has released a video showing an abandoned migrant child to underscore the dangers faced by unaccompanied children.

Border Patrol says the 10-year-old boy was found alone and crying in a field April 1 after being left by the group he was traveling with. In the video, the boy tells a Border Patrol agent in Spanish that he was looking for them because he didn’t know where else to go and was also afraid of being kidnapped.

According to Brian Hastings, CBP’s chief patrol agent of the Rio Grande Valley sector, the boy had been traveling with about 80 other individuals, without parents. He had been left for approximately four hours.

“When he woke up, he didn’t know where he was or where to go or what to do,” Hastings told CNN.

The boy was still in CBP custody as of Monday while the agency worked to turn him over to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The full circumstances of the case aren’t known, including how and why he came to the U.S. or if this was a case of self-separation.

Border Patrol says some migrant families are self-separating in Mexico after being expelled from the U.S., so their children can cross back into the U.S. alone.

Because of the surge at the border, the Biden administration has been following a Trump-era health law, known as Title 42, that allows federal officials to expel migrants during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the government is allowing unaccompanied children to stay in U.S. custody.

From Feb. 24 to March 23, Border Patrol saw 435 of these incidents in the South Texas region.

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