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Immigrant 6-Year-Old Found Abandoned in Desert

Newsweek logo Newsweek 6/21/2018 Joe Difazio

a close up of a desert field with a mountain in the background © Provided by IBT Media

A 6-year-old boy was discovered in the Arizona desert after being abandoned by a smuggler Tuesday night, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The boy, hailing originally from Costa Rica, was found by Border Patrol west of Lukeville, Arizona, a tiny border crossing that sits just north of Mexico. The temperature outside at the time was 100 degrees, according to the agency.

In a press release, Border Patrol said that the boy was left without food or water, but was discovered in good condition and taken to be processed in Tucson, Arizona. He was attempting to see his mother. 

“This incident highlights the dangers faced by migrants at the hands of smugglers. Children, in particular, are extremely vulnerable, not only to exploitation, but also to the elements in the environment,” said the agency. “Arizona’s desert is a merciless environment for those unprepared for its remote, harsh terrain and unpredictable weather.”

The agency did not immediately respond to Newsweek’s request for comment about more information on the boy’s status. The boy was not named.

Border Patrol has been caught in the middle of a national controversy over immigration policy. President Donald Trump, before taking office, outlined his wish for a “strong” border, calling for a wall to separate Mexico that the U.S.’s southern neighbor would pay for.

Earlier this year Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy on enforcement of immigration law, prosecuting as many cases of unlawful border crossing as possible. The administration’s initiative resulted in more than 2,000 children being separated from their families as people were apprehended in border crossings.

The separations became a flashpoint sparking national outrage. The administration attempted to dodge responsibility for the practices that resulted in the separations, including Trump, who tried to toss the hot potato to Congress.

“If the Democrats would sit down instead of obstructing, we could have something done very quickly,” said Trump Monday

Trump eventually caved to national pressure and signed an executive order Wednesday attempting to curtail the separations, and detain families together. The order did not address children that have already been separated and could face a legal battle since a standing consent decree limits internment of children to 20 days. Separations might resume after that limit.

The first lady, Melania Trump, made a surprise visit to the border Thursday in an unannounced trip to view the immigration situation on the ground. She visited a detention center for children and asked about their well-being.

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