US Customs and Border Protection has released a video showing a migrant boy who claims he was abandoned in the desert approaching a border agent and asking for help.
In the video, the boy – whose name, age and nationality have been withheld because he is a juvenile – can be seen standing on the side of a dirt road as a border agent pulls up next to him.
The boy tells the agent he was with a group of individuals crossing the border but was left behind near the Rio Grande in Texas.
In the video, which was shot on 1 April, the border agent asks if he had been left behind by the others.
“At the end they abandoned me. I have come here to ask you for help,” the boy said.
The agent asks the boy if he had been instructed to leave the group and ask him for help, but the boy says he was not.
“No, I am coming because if I did not, where am I going to go? Somebody could abduct me, kidnap me. I am scared,” the boy replies.
According to reporting from Unavision, the boy spent the night hiking through the desert after he was abandoned.
According to a spokesman for the Rio Grande Border Patrol Station, the boy was taken and processed in the same way other migrants are when apprehended by border guards. The spokesman said further information on the boy’s condition and whereabouts was unavailable and require a formal request for information through the Border Patrol.
The video exemplified the desperation of migrants attempting to gain access from the US from Mexico and South and Central American countries.
US Border Patrol El Paso Sector chief Gloria Chavez issued a statement following the release of the video.
“To all parents who are considering sending their unaccompanied children to the border, please reconsider because it is very dangerous to expose children,” she said.
Under Donald Trump, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were given wide powers to conduct raids on migrants, including individuals who have lived in the country for decades. The former president also enacted a child separation policy at the border that resulted in hundreds of children still being left without their parents three years later.
Since then, a new surge of migrants have tried to cross the border, leaving Joe Biden with a growing crisis worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Biden’s handling of the border has been criticised on both the left and the right, with conservatives complaining that he’s allowing unvaccinated migrants into the country – despite striking down face mask mandates and banning vaccine passports themselves – and liberals pointing out that the president has allowed aid workers who have access to children to work without going through federal fingerprint background checks.
Earlier this week it was reported that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is considering continued construction on the border wall, specifically to “plug gaps”, build gates and to outfit already built portions of the wall with monitoring technology.
Mr Biden may be forced to finish the wall despite his promise not to build “one more foot” of one of his predecessor’s signature policies. Federal law requires any project that Congress allocates money toward to be carried out to completion unless questions of efficacy arise or the president issued a revocation order.
The president has not yet issued a revocation order.