New video depicts a smuggler lowering a 7-year-old girl down the border wall on his back Tuesday morning, then abandoning her on the U.S. side.
Border Patrol agents spotted the man with the girl riding piggyback style on surveillance cameras near Calexico, California.
They figured they had to be careful responding, not wanting to risk spooking the smuggler and have him drop the girl down the 30-foot wall while he made a break back up the barrier.
They waited until the girl had reached the ground before responding. By then, the smuggler had sent the girl walking north along the wall while he climbed back up and escaped back to Mexico.
The girl was given a welfare check then taken to a Border Patrol station for processing.
“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 Gregory K. Bovino, chief patrol agent of the El Centro sector. “Smugglers will always view children as a commodity to gain a profit, disregarding the safety and well-being of any individual except their own.”
The spot where the smuggler dropped the girl is near the All-American Canal, which serves as another barrier to reaching the interior of the U.S., and which can be treacherous to cross.
The incident is the latest in a string of abandonments of young children amid the Biden border surge.
Having arrived without parents, the girl is likely to be deemed an Unaccompanied Alien Child, or UAC. That means she will be quickly shipped from Border Patrol custody to a shelter run by Health and Human Services, which will then search for a sponsor to take her in.
The just-ended fiscal year 2021 set the all-time record for most UACs, enticed by a more relaxed approach to the border under the new Biden administration.