TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) – A mother and her young child were reunited by U.S. Border Patrol agents after they were separated by a smuggler while trying to cross into the United States illegally, officials said Wednesday.
The reunion occurred after agents near Douglas apprehended a Guatemalan woman who was carrying a baby boy about 15 months old who wasn't hers.
About two hours later, the agents found a Mexican woman who said she was looking for her child after they were separated while trying to scale a border fence four miles east of Douglas.
The woman told agents she had fallen off the fence on the Mexico side and injured herself. A smuggler took the child and told her to keep quiet and the Border Patrol would take care of him, Border Patrol spokesman Matthew Eisenhauer said.
Eisenhauer said the woman managed to walk to an area with a lower fence and crossed into the U.S., where agents arrested her.
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The mother and son were in good health and returned to Mexico, Eisenhauer said.
They are among the many families with children who are flooding the border as another wave of migrants comes to the U.S. via Mexico.
Most of the families are from Central America and fleeing violence and instability. They are often held in detention centers and later released while their immigration cases, many of which involve requests for asylum, move forward in courts.
Mexican nationals are usually quickly deported because of the proximity to Mexico.
The summer of 2014 saw a wave of unaccompanied children and families with kids coming to the United States from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. The flow slowed in 2015 but began picking up again a few months ago.
Over 16,000 children traveling alone and more than 20,800 people traveling as families have been caught at the border since October.