A cross-border game of catch highlighting a moment of fun between a U.S. Border Patrol agent and a Mexican youth has been getting a lot of attention online.
A now viral video shows a teenager at Las Tortugas Park in Colonia Altavista in Ciudad Juárez and a CBP officer throwing a football back and forth across the Rio Grande. The encounter lasted for almost five minutes and ended with the agent driving away in his vehicle.
David Bernal recorded the video the evening of Sept. 12 when he and two friends went to the park by the border to play basketball. Around 6:40 p.m., a white car parked near them and two teenagers came out with a football.
Bernal didn’t pay much attention to the two playing catch with each other but then he noticed a Border Patrol vehicle on the U.S. side of the border.
An agent got out of the vehicle and asked the teenagers to pass the ball to him. A river canal is all that separates the two countries.
“When I saw that, I thought it was astonishing that an immigration agent would get so close only to play at the border with a kid from Juárez,” Bernal said.
Seeing Border Patrol vehicles is a common occurrence for the 19-year-old Juarense who lives in Colonia Anapra and goes to Las Tortugas Park two to three times a week. Seeing agents getting so close to the Mexican side is rare, though.
According to CBP public affairs official Valeria Morales, playing ball with kids on the border has been a recurrent practice by the agent, who has declined to give his name or interviews.
Morales said the agent is “overall humble and not interested in the spotlight.”
“We’re from this region and we stay involved with the community,” Morales said. “Our officials are coaches or have kids themselves so they just want to stay involved and continue with our mission which is border protection.”
Bernal wasn’t the only one recording the event. As the agent and the teenager continued playing, more people gathered to see the interaction. It was then that the Border Patrol agent returned the ball and got into his vehicle.
“This is one side of the #frontera that not many know An agent of the #BorderPatrol Playing with a Juarense in the Rio Bravo #CiudadJuarez#ElPasoTx, The Mexican,” The City of Juárez tourism office said in a translated tweet.
Esta es una cara de la #frontera que no muchos conocen 💜 Un agente del #BorderPatrol Jugando con un Juarense en el Río Bravo 👏🏼👏🏼🇺🇸🇲🇽#CiudadJuarez #ElPasoTx
📸 El Mexicano @webcamsdemexico @USAmbMex pic.twitter.com/3PXKrITV6x
— BCV Cd. Juárez (@BCVJUAREZ) September 14, 2020
The viral video has been posted by multiple social media accounts since Sept. 14 and has gained more than 30,000 views.
Facebook users have commented on the youth’s strong arm and highlight the positive encounter.
“I thought it might get viral, but it actually surprised me when I saw local news media sharing the video,” Bernal said. “I just thought it was very cool.”
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