CALEXICO, Calif. – U.S. Border Patrol agents from El Centro Sector encountered a seven-year-old abandoned by a smuggler Tuesday morning.
The incident occurred at approximately 9:25 a.m., when El Centro Station’s Remote Video Surveillance System operators observed a male individual with a small child clinging to his back on a rope ladder atop the 30-foot United States/Mexico International Boundary Fence. The smuggler was attempting to lower the small child down onto U.S. soil.
Agents immediately recognized the dangerous situation created by the human smuggler and decided to wait for the child to be safely on the ground before making their approach. This decision was made out of caution, believing that the smuggler might panic and drop the child, resulting in serious injury or death given the height of the border wall. Just north of the border wall is the All-American Canal, which posed another physical danger to the child.
Agents, aware of the possible deadly situation, immediately responded to the area with caution. The smuggler instructed the child to walk north before he returned back to Mexico without incident. The small child encountered was a 7-year-old girl from El Salvador, about 50 feet north of the U.S./ Mexico border and two miles west of the Calexico Port of Entry.
Agents conducted a welfare check of the child and safely escorted her back to the vehicle. She was transported to the El Centro Sector Processing Center to be medically evaluated and processed accordingly.
“No one, let alone a child of any age or race, should be exposed to the multitude of dangers when crossing illegally into this country” said Chief Patrol Agent Gregory K. Bovino. “Smugglers will always view children as a commodity to gain a profit, disregarding the safety and well-being of any individual except their own.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.