PHOENIX—As sirens wail in the background, migrant smugglers push adults and children through a hole beneath a border wall despite an officer’s demands on the other side that they return to Mexico.
“Return back!” the agent yells in one of two Customs and Border Protection videos released on April 2.
“Don’t do that! Look at the child!” the agent yells in the Dec. 18 video as smugglers push adults and children through the hole under the wall of metal bollards and past a large coil of razor wire at the border in Yuma, Arizona.
“Hey, careful! Careful with the boy!” the agent off-camera cries in alarm as a man crawls out with the first of two small boys alongside the wire.
In video obtained by @ABC, a family of asylum seekers attempts to cross through a hole under the border wall near Yuma, Arizona, despite warnings from CBP agents—and a woman who makes it to the U.S. side is separated from her sister’s family. Watch: https://t.co/j1WbdnZNCD pic.twitter.com/bcT1G05RA0
— ABC News (@ABC) April 2, 2019
The videos have come to light amid a surge of migrant families arriving at the border, overwhelming processing and holding centers.
A record number of families crossed into the United States in recent months, resulting in the expansion of what President Donald Trump calls “catch and release”—freeing people the system simply can’t deal with.
Since Dec. 21, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has freed more than 125,000 people into the United States who came into the country as families.
In the other newly released video, several small children cry as smugglers try to help adults and children get through a hole in a border fence that passes through a water-filled channel. The Dec. 22 video was taken in the same general area as the other one and is a bit more difficult to follow.
Text included with the video says Mexican authorities responded in the second instance and were able to stop the smuggling attempt that saw the children being carried through the water.
It says one woman who was encouraged to return to her family on the Mexico side stayed in the United States and surrendered to Border Patrol agents.
Trump Says He’s Prepared to Close Mexico Border If Necessary
President Donald Trump said on April 2 he was prepared to close the U.S. southern border if necessary but that Mexico has apprehended thousands of people in recent days and its actions have made a big difference in the immigration situation.
Trump threatened on March 29 to close the border with Mexico this week unless Mexico took steps to help the United States with illegal immigration, a move which had threatened to overload U.S. ports of entry in the region.
The administration softened its tone on the issue on April 2, saying Mexico was taking greater responsibility for dealing with the immigration flows.
“They have started to do a significant amount more. We’ve seen them take a larger number of individuals” and hold those who have asylum claims in Mexico while they are being processed in the United States, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters at the White House.
“We’ve also seen them stop more people from coming across the border so that they aren’t even entering into the United States. So those two things are certainly helpful and we’d like to see them continue,” Sanders said.
Trump hinted at a softening earlier in a Twitter post on Tuesday. “After many years (decades), Mexico is apprehending large numbers of people at their Southern Border, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador,” he said.
After many years (decades), Mexico is apprehending large numbers of people at their Southern Border, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. They have ALL been taking U.S. money for years, and doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for us, just like the Democrats in Congress!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2019
By Anita Snow. Reuters contributed to this report.