Guatemalan Sisters--Ages 4 and 7--Call 911 When Abandoned at Border

By Susan Jones | September 2, 2015 | 11:12am EDT
The border fence running along the U.S.-Mexico border at the point of entry in San Miguel, Ariz., on the Tohono O’odham Indian reservation. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

( - Two little girls, ages 7 and 4, called 911 last week, to report that they were stranded and lost in the desert near Tucson, Arizona.

When U.S. Border Patrol Agents located them, using cell phone coordinates, they discovered that the sisters are among the thousands of unaccompanied minors from Guatemala fleeing to the United States.

In this case, smugglers left the children on the Tohono O’odham Indian reservation, where the U.S.-Mexico border is lightly fenced and loosely guarded.

Agents said both children were in good health, and they were taken to the Tucson Coordination Center "for further processing."  

The Tucson Sector Border Patrol said it is working with the Guatemalan Consulate in an attempt to locate any relatives the children may have in the United States.

Typically, unaccompanied minors who have relatives here are placed with them, pending their day in immigration court.

Rescues of this type are not unusual: "The hard work of Border Patrol agents has accounted for over 500 rescues since beginning of the fiscal year," Customs and Border Patrol said in a news release.

"The Tucson Sector Border Patrol urges anyone in distress to call 911, as this may be the best chance a person has to save their own life."

CBP also warned that the stranding of the two little girls "highlights the dangers faced by migrants at the hands of smugglers" as well as the dangers posed by the desert heat.

So far in Fiscal Year 2015 (Oct. 1, 2014-July 31, 2015), 30,862 unaccompannied alien children (those up to 17 years old) have been apprehended at the Southwest border. That nine-month total is 51 percent below the 62,977 unaccompanied minors who came here for all 12 months of Fiscal 2014.

Unaccompanied minors from Guatemala lead the pack, with 10,756 of them arriving in the U.S. so far in FY 2015; 9,146 were from Mexico, 6,669 from El Salvador, and 3,838 from Honduras.

In FY 2014, more children came here from Honduras than any of those other three countries.

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