Surveillance video from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) showed two young children being dropped by human traffickers from the top of a 14-foot-high fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to authorities this week.
In the footage from Tuesday night, two people bring the children to the border fence where one of the individuals scales the fence to drop the children into the United States. After the children, ages 3 and 5, land on the ground, the video shows two people on the Mexican side running away.
Border Patrol Chief Gloria Chavez tweeted the video thanking the responding agents for saving the children.
According to a CBP press release, the two children were sisters from Ecuador and were both “alert” when border patrol located them.
The smuggling operation took place at night, but a border patrol agent was able to record the incident using his cellphone camera and night-vision technology. Additional border agents were notified of the situation and were able to make contact with the illegal immigrant children in a remote location outside of Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
“I’m appalled by the way these smugglers viciously dropped innocent children from a 14-foot border barrier last night,” El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez said in a statement Wednesday. “If not for the vigilance of our agents using mobile technology, these two tender-aged siblings would have been exposed to the harsh elements of desert environment for hours.”
The children received aid at the scene and were transported to the Santa Teresa Border Patrol Station for a medical evaluation. They pair was then taken to a local hospital “for precautionary reasons and further evaluation.” After being cleared, the sisters were put in CBP custody and are awaiting placement in a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services facility.
“We are currently working with our law enforcement partners in Mexico and attempting to identify these ruthless human smugglers so as to hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” she added.
Since President Joe Biden took office in January, the number of immigrants crossing the border illegally has skyrocketed, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the rate of illegal immigration is on track to be the highest in 20 years.
ABC News reported that between March 15 and March 21, the number of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children being held in CBP custody for over 240 hours jumped from 185 to 823, according to data obtained from a source.
The data also revealed that the number of children in CBP custody past the three day legal limit reached 3,314 on March 21. Between March 15 and March 21, at least 22,586 illegal immigrant children had been held in CBP custody for more than 72 hours.