There may be no better story than this one to illustrate the challenges our country faces as illegal immigrants or smugglers (or both) try to penetrate the U.S. border unlawfully — and cruelly use children in the process.
Immediately before her briefing with members of Customs and Border Protection in Tucson this past Thursday, first lady Melania Trump asked officials how often agents see children trying to cross the Arizona border alone.
Rodolfo Karisch, chief of the Tucson sector of the Border Patrol, had photos and a heartrending story that had taken place only the week before, on June 19, according to the Border Patrol’s press release, AZ Central reported.
That day, a child was found by himself in the scorching desert.
In a photo taken by the agent who spotted him, the boy is shown sitting by himself on a berm alongside a dirt road. It was 101 degrees that day, but the child wore a long-sleeved shirt, jeans, and sneakers.
The little boy carried a large backpack and a zippered tote, reported AZ Central. He also carried a plastic Coke bottle that was less than a quarter full — the only drink he had. He had no food at the time Border Control rescued him.
Karisch told the first lady the details of how the boy was abandoned on the side of the road with the note pinned to him, and said his office had put out a press release about the incident, since it seemed to encapsulate all of the dangers on the border.
“This is something that our people encounter on a daily basis,” Karisch told Melania Trump.
The note pinned to the six-year-old, traveling alone, read, in English: “I am looking for my mom.”
As the first lady looked down at the photos, she reportedly said softly, “Oh, God.”
“It’s incredible,” Mrs. Trump also said, according to Yahoo News. “As young as six years old — you know, someone would leave them. Wow, very sad.”
“I want to thank you for all your hard work. I know how difficult and dangerous your daily jobs are,” Mrs. Trump told border agents. “I am here to support you and help any way I can.”
The agency said the boy was found in the Lukeville, Arizona, area, just north of the border.
“As young as six years old — you know, someone would leave them. Wow, very sad.”
The child, who is reportedly Costa Rican, will remain in the custody of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to The Costa Rica Star.
Mabel Segura, general consul to Costa Rica in Los Angeles, and Carmen Bermudez, honorary consul in Arizona, agreed with the border authorities in Tucson, Arizona, about transporting the minor child on a direct flight to New York.
"Federal agents found a 6-year-old boy abandoned at the Arizona border with Mexico by a human smuggler arranged by his parents. Federal officials must decide what to do with a young boy whose parents placed him in a life-threatening situation to have him join them in the US."
— James of Aspen Hills (@JamesofAspen3) June 22, 2018