On Thursday, El Paso Border Patrol Sector Chief Gloria Chavez spoke to Fox News about her experience visiting two young toddlers who were dropped over the side of the southern United States-Mexico border by human smugglers earlier this week.
The Daily Wire reported on Thursday:
On Tuesday night, two young toddlers were dropped over a 14-foot-tall barrier into the United States at the New Mexico border before being rescued, according to officials.
On Wednesday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection released a statement regarding the incident, stating that it was a life-threatening situation that involved “two female tender-aged toddlers mistreated and abandoned by human smugglers just west of Mt. Cristo Rey.”
Using filming technology, a Santa Teresa agent reportedly saw “a smuggler dropping two young children from the top of the approximately 14-foot-high border barrier” on Tuesday night. The two smugglers quickly left the region after discarding the girls on the northern side of the border.
The statement confirmed that the camera worker told agents working in Santa Teresa about the incident and helped them get to the remote area where it happened. “Responding agents found the three-year-old and five-year-old Ecuadoran children and rendered aid to them. The two toddlers are sisters and both were alert when agents made contact with them,” per the report.
The girls were taken to receive medical care and were placed in a holding facility.
“I was really horrified and appalled and worried when I first saw the images come through from my staff,” Chavez told Fox News host Neil Cavuto on Thursday. “When I saw that first child dropped to the ground and then not see her move for a few seconds, I honestly thought this child just probably hit her head and is unconscious. And then I see the second child and immediately DHS, obviously, within a few minutes responded to that area to rescue them.”
“When I visited with these little girls, they were so loving and so talkative, some of them were asking the names of all the agents that were there around them, and they even said they were a little hungry,” Chavez recalled. “So I helped them peel a banana and open a juice box and just talked to them. You know, children are just so resilient and I’m so grateful that they’re not severely injured or [have] broken limbs or anything like that.”
Chavez told the outlet that officials had not seen “ruthless” smugglers leave unaccompanied children in those deserted regions outside of El Paso in the past.
“I’ve been doing this for over twenty-five years now and we know exactly the tactics of these people,” she said. “For them, it’s just a profit … So when we see an image like that … that raises my alert and my worry that they may continue to try these tactics further out in the desert area like [near] Lordsburg, New Mexico [or] Fort Hancock, Texas, where it’s not urban, it’s very remote, it’s very rural and the logistics and the challenges that exist for Border Patrol agents to get to those locations are quite high.”
“So I worry when I see images like this and the tactics that smugglers are using [are] really hurting these children,” she added.
Chavez went on to discuss the efforts that are taken for children to get to the border.
“This is a coordinated effort all the way up to our border, right up to the smugglers operating in that area and then paying — either the families pay a fee or relatives pay a fee,” she said.
“If you saw in that video, there is a third item that is thrown over that barrier, and that was a bag,” said Chavez. “In that bag, there was a phone, there was a phone number and their passports. And we were able through the intelligence and the agents working this case already, they were able to make contact with the mother who resides in New York. So that connection has been made, and we continue with the investigation because … we want to get these guys so that they don’t do this to another unaccompanied minor on that border.”
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