Two toddlers who were dropped over a border barrier late Tuesday in the middle of the New Mexico desert have been rescued by U.S. Border Patrol.
A camera operator at the Santa Teresa, New Mexico, port of entry witnessed the incident over security camera of the area, which was in a remote location. In the video, a human smuggler could be seen dropping the two toddlers from the top of the border barrier at a height of about 14 feet.
"Immediately after both children landed on the ground, two smugglers immediately fled the area and abandoned the helpless little girls on the north side of the international boundary line," the U.S. Border Patrol announced.
“I’m appalled by the way these smugglers viciously dropped innocent children from a 14-foot border barrier last night. 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,” she said in a statement.
“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.”
Santa Teresa agents came to the rescue after the camera operator informed them about the incident. The toddlers were found to be 3 and 5-year-old Ecuadorian sisters. Both were alert when the agents found them.
They were sent to the Santa Teresa Border Patrol Station for medical checks, and later were sent to a local hospital for further checks. They were medically cleared and are currently in a Border Patrol temporary holding facility, pending placement by Health and Human Services (HHS).
Biden and other U.S. officials have repeatedly urged migrants to refrain from illegally crossing the border into the United States. Despite this, the number of illegal crossings at the southern border has been on the rise since October 2020.
While adults and family units are still being expelled from the United States, the Biden administration has been accepting all unaccompanied minors—children who unlawfully enter the country without an adult.
About 11,900 children were in HHS shelters and nearly 5,800 children were in Border Patrol custody as of March 28. To reduce overcrowding, the administration is rapidly expanding emergency influx shelters and surveying military bases to host unaccompanied minors.