A pair of unaccompanied migrant children were spotted along the US-Mexico border, where agents gave them snacks before transporting them to a processing center, gripping photos show.
The unescorted youngsters were walking along the Mexico side of a chain-link fence on the banks of the Rio Grande at about 5:30 p.m. Monday when a Texas Highway Patrol officer noticed them and guided them to a gap in the fence patrolled by military officials at Eagle Pass, Texas.
The unaccompanied children were then given a seat on a cooler and some snacks, including what appeared to be a bag of Doritos, photos show.
They were later taken to a US Customs and Border Protection vehicle with other migrants and transported to a processing center.
The captivating photos come as the federal government expects a record surge of unaccompanied minors – as many as 161,000 – to flood the US-Mexico border this year, according to a leaked report last week.
The Department of Homeland Security is projecting roughly 148,000 to 161,000 unaccompanied children this year, according to an Interior Department projection obtained by the Washington Examiner.
The January 2022 report warned of monthly projections exceeding levels from the fiscal year 2021 – when a record-shattering 147,000 migrant children entered the US without relatives.
More than 1.2 million single-adult migrants have been picked up by US immigration officials in the 2022 fiscal year. Another 101,024 unaccompanied minors were also encountered by US officials, data shows.
Most children who arrive by themselves at the border are shielded from deportation under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. They are typically housed at the Department of Health and Human Services until officials find an adult in the US to care for them.
President Joe Biden, meanwhile, is set to meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Tuesday. It will mark their second in-person session at the White House. López Obrador declined Biden’s invitation to the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles last month after unsuccessfully urging the US to include leaders of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
Senior Biden administration officials said the countries plan to announce joint actions to improve infrastructure along parts of the 2,000-mile US-Mexico border, as well as to enhance law enforcement cooperation against fentanyl smuggling.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order last week authorizing the National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety to arrest immigrants who illegally cross the border between ports of entry and return them to Mexico.
“While President Biden refuses to do his job and enforce the immigration laws enacted by Congress, the State of Texas is once again stepping up and taking unprecedented action to protect Americans and secure our southern border,” Abbott said while citing the Constitution as legal justification.
But analysts said the order is not likely to survive a legal challenge.
“As they say in Texas, this dog won’t hunt,” attorney Jonathan Turley told Fox News. “They’re relying on the guarantee clause of Article Four, Section Four, and that deals with an invasion, which is generally interpreted and long interpreted to mean an actual foreign invasion in the form of an army, an organized force.”
With Post wires