The body of an 11-year-old boy was recently discovered in South Texas. It is tragic enough when any child is found dead but this youngster had traveled from his home country of Guatemala and had died trying to cross the border into the United States. The belt he was wearing had a phone number scratched on the back of it. It was the phone number of his older brother who lives in Chicago. The young boy, identified later as Gilberto Francisco Ramos Juarez, had been found less than a mile from the closest residence and his body was badly decomposed.
While it unfortunately is not an unusual occurrence to find dead bodies along the border between Mexico and the United States, this particular instance is especially troubling because it shines an unwelcome spotlight on the epidemic of children attempting to enter into the United States illegally and, worse, unaccompanied by an adult. Over the last several years there has been a record number of children who have crossed into the US illegally and the federal government is trying to find ways of dealing with the problem without fanning the flames of an already hot button topic.
This week President Obama declared that he will be proactive in making changes to the nation’s immigration policy and would not wait for Republicans to take action. Meanwhile, there have been over 52,000 children who have crossed the border into the United States illegally and unaccompanied by any adults since October. The majority of these children are coming not from Mexico but from Central American countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The situation has stretched the resources and capabilities of the US Border Patrol to its breaking point. Federal law requires that children who are captured trying to cross over without adult accompaniment are to be turned over to the US Department of Health and Human Services within 72 hours but they are coming over in such unprecedented numbers that it is virtually impossible for Border Patrol agents to meet that requirement.
Most children who cross over without an adult turn themselves in to law enforcement officials as soon as they are able to locate one. As such, it was unusual to find a child in an area that is as remote as the one that young Juarez was found in. Officials notified the boy’s brother in Chicago using the number that was found on his belt buckle. The brother subsequently gave authorities the number for their father in Guatemala who then confirmed the boy’s identity through the descriptions of his clothes. It is not yet known what the cause of death as but many familiar with the case suspect it was likely that the boy had suffered heat stroke. His father had said that he had last heard from the boy a little less than a month before his body was discovered. At that point the boy had informed him that he was in a town in Northern Mexico waiting to cross the border.
If you or someone you know would like more information about this or any other immigration issue or would like legal counsel regarding an immigration issue, please visit the Austin immigration attorney at the Lyttle Law Firm website or call their offices in Austin, Texas at 512-215-5225.