Border officials alarmed by migrants abandoned in the desert

This undated image provided by Tucson Sector Border Patrol shows the desert terrain close to Arizona's boundary with Mexico near Lukeville, Ariz. Larg

This undated image provided by Tucson Sector Border Patrol shows the desert terrain close to Arizona's boundary with Mexico near Lukeville, Ariz. Larg

FILE - In this May 24, 2006, file photo, U.S. Border Patrol Senior Agent Sean King patrols a trail in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument near Lukevil

FILE - In this May 24, 2006, file photo, U.S. Border Patrol Senior Agent Sean King patrols a trail in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument near Lukevil

FILE - In this May 26, 2006 file photo, a U.S. Border Patrol agent patrols the international border separating Sonoyta, Mexico, right of fence, and Lu

FILE - In this May 26, 2006 file photo, a U.S. Border Patrol agent patrols the international border separating Sonoyta, Mexico, right of fence, and Lu

PHOENIX (AP) — Smugglers in recent weeks have been abandoning large groups of Guatemalan and other Central American migrants in Arizona's harsh Sonoran Desert near the border with Mexico — a trend Border Patrol officials say puts hundreds of children at risk.

Collectively, more than 1,400 migrants have been left by smugglers in the broiling desert — or in one case in a drenching thunderstorm — in remote areas since Aug. 20. There were 275 people in one group.

U.S. Immigration and Control Enforcement in Arizona began releasing hundreds of people Sunday to await court dates, saying it didn't have the capacity to hold an "incredibly high volume" of migrant families showing up at the border.

Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona asked officials Wednesday to investigate the situation.