As the Biden administration refuses to confront the ongoing border crisis, Border Patrol encounters with unaccompanied children rise and vulnerable children become casualties on the altar of political gain.

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Operational Report for February, “Encounters of unaccompanied children increased 37 percent, with 12,011 encounters in February compared with 8,760 in January. In February, the average number of unaccompanied children in CBP custody was 520 per day, compared with an average of 295 per day in January.”

Notably, encounters with families decreased from January to February while encounters with both single adults and unaccompanied children (kids crossing the border alone) rose.

Based on data from previous years, February 2022 saw an increase of over 60,000 individual encounters compared to February 2021, and an increase of nearly 90,000 individual encounters compared to the pre-pandemic Trump-era of February 2019.

Meanwhile, deportations are lessening under the Biden administration as they fight Trump-era policies such as the Migrant Protection Protocols and Title 42—Trump’s pandemic-related public health measure.

Deportation is not a concern for unaccompanied minors, but apparently keeping track of them is. Many of the unaccompanied children released into the U.S. have been lost to the system.

U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Arizona) recently received confirmation that nearly 20,000 minor children are unaccounted for by the Biden administration following their release into the U.S.

However, as Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw told the Texas Senate Committee on Border Security last week, “We can’t force the federal government to do the right thing.”

Therefore, Texas is attempting to tackle the border crisis without federal assistance. Although Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security initiative Operation Lone Star has been plagued with problems, a new major general of the Texas Military Department appointed this week may improve the program’s performance.

Abbott’s Democrat gubernatorial challenger Robert “Beto” O’Rourke has been a heavy critic of Operation Lone Star. At a recent campaign stop in College Station, O’Rourke said, “There are [National] Guard members from Texas A&M who are on the border right now in Zapata, in Webb, in Hidalgo counties to go be part of a solution in search of a problem.”

O’Rourke has a history of dismissing border security, saying during his 2020 presidential campaign that he would “take the wall down.”

Gov. Abbott responded to O’Rourke’s comment in College Station, telling Breitbart earlier this week, “I can’t tell if he’s either uninformed or if he’s just being kind of dishonest with Texas.”

“There are lives that have been lost because of the Biden administration’s refusal to secure the border,” Abbott added, calling the human trafficking “horrific” and championing the seizures of fentanyl by Texas law enforcement.

As politicians continue to treat the border as a chess board where they try to outmaneuver their opponents, these lost children are their sacrificial pawns.