A new surveillance video released by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows heavily armed men escorting a woman and her son across the southwestern border into the United States.
At least five men, who appeared to be carrying firearms like rifles and wearing tactical gear, could be seen the video helping a Guatemalan woman and her 8-year-old son under a barrier near Lukeville, Arizona at 10 p.m. on April 20.
#BorderPatrol cameras observed armed men escorting a mother and her 8-year-old son to the int’l boundary west of Lukeville, AZ. The armed men dropped off the pair in an area commonly used by smugglers to bring large groups of Central Americans into the country illegally. pic.twitter.com/xwJZZgvlbD
— CBP (@CBP) April 23, 2019
“#BorderPatrol cameras observed armed men escorting a mother and her 8-year-old son to the int’l boundary west of Lukeville, AZ,” the federal agency wrote on April 23. “The armed men dropped off the pair in an area commonly used by smugglers to bring large groups of Central Americans into the country illegally.”
The immigrant mother and son turned themselves into border patrol agents, reported Fox News. The pair is still currently in custody.
According to the news station, dozens of agents responded after camera operators noticed the border breach. An official with the agency told Fox News that it was a “highly unusual and highly concerning” incident.
“These armed individuals along the border represent an escalation of tactics. This is not mom and dad and kids deciding to head to the border. This is a no kidding, orchestrated effort to bring individuals to the US. It is not just the numbers. It’s who is running this enterprise,” the border official said, adding that Guatemalans are paying $7,000 to smugglers to transport them from their home to the border, according to the news station.
Fraudulent Family Cases
In a recent press conference, acting Department of Homeland Security chief, Kevin McAleenan said border patrol has identified over 3,000 fraudulent family unit cases in the past six months.
“It’s very clear that the cartel and smugglers know the weaknesses in our laws. They know that family units and unaccompanied children will be released with no consequences for their illegal entries,” McAleenan said on April 17 during his tour at McAllen, Texas, reported KVEO.
He said illegal immigrants are going to great lengths to seek asylum in the United States, by engaging in what he called child recycling rings, reported Texas Public Radio.
“The same child is brought across the border with an adult multiple times to try and gain that release that family units are required under court order,” McAleenan said.
In a tweet on April 23, McAleenan continued to highlight the problem, saying, “Children making the journey north are the most vulnerable. They’re arriving sicker than ever after the brutal journey—smugglers realize the loopholes in our laws and are exploiting them to profit. @DHSgov is doing everything we can to confront this dangerous epidemic.”
Children making the journey north are the most vulnerable. They’re arriving sicker than ever after the brutal journey – smugglers realize the loopholes in our laws and are exploiting them to profit. @DHSgov is doing everything we can to confront this dangerous epidemic.
— Acting Sec. Kevin McAleenan (@DHSMcAleenan) April 23, 2019
Earlier this month, CBP said agents encountered over 103,000 individuals on the southwestern border in the month of March. Of those, 92,000 were border patrol apprehensions—which is an increase of 35 percent compared to February.
The agency also said that for the first half of the 2019 fiscal year, agents arrested over 385,000 individuals at the southwest border, which is more than double the apprehensions during the same period last fiscal year.
Moreover, some Central American immigrants told KGBT that they were making the trek to the United States because they had seen advertisements in their local newspaper and television stations promoting better opportunities and free help from the United States if they enter illegally.
#BORDERNEWS Immigrants tell me they’re coming to the U.S. because they’re seeing advertisements on their local newspapers and TV stations, about better opportunities and free help from Americans if they enter illegally. My #Exclusive report straight from the border. #Immigration pic.twitter.com/mpRdg2hes7
— Sydney Hernandez (@SydneyKGBT) April 15, 2019
“The whole world knows, they put it in the news. They tell us everywhere if you come to the United States, they’ll help you,” said a Honduran woman, who was arrested at the border near the Rio Grande Valley, told KGBT.
A Guatemalan pastor, who was also arrested, said the same thing.
“Yes, we’ve been told that, we read it on our newspapers. That’s why we’re here,” the pastor said.