YUMA, Ariz. – Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents are seeing an increase in juveniles under the age of 13 crossing the border by themselves in recent months, Customs and Border Patrol announced Feb. 17.
Since Jan. 1, agents have apprehended 28 unaccompanied “tender age children,” meaning children under the age of 13 that are not with a parent or guardian. That’s compared to 13 unaccompanied tender age children during the same time period in 2019. Tender age is a term used by the U.S. Border Patrol to describe children under the age of 13. The intent of defining tender age is to eliminate confusion and align USBP terminology with the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
The 28 unaccompanied children who have been apprehended since the start of the year came from Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.
“The smuggling of children is extremely dangerous, and that danger exasperates when the child is sent on the journey alone,” said Yuma Sector Chief Patrol Agent Chris T. Clem. “It further shows the continued disregard for human life by smuggling organizations by circumventing our laws and profiting on the vulnerabilities of these populations.”