A border wall. Smugglers. Small children being dropped into America in the darkness. A grainy video released Wednesday by authorities—its figures visible only in ghostly white outline, its stark storyline dramatic and obvious—captures, in mere seconds, the dangers for migrant children at the southern US border. A man straddling a 14-foot barrier near Santa Teresa, New Mexico, lowers a toddler while holding onto one arm. With the child dangling, he lets go. She lands on her feet, then falls forward face first into the dirt. The smuggler does the same thing with a slightly larger child, who falls on her feet and then her bottom. Then the smuggler and another man run off into the desert, deeper into Mexico.
Border authorities said the children caught on video were sisters, ages 3 and 5, and from Ecuador. They were found alert, taken to a hospital and cleared of any physical injuries. As of Thursday, they remained at a Border Patrol temporary holding facility pending placement by the US Health and Human Services Department. The girls’ mother is in the United States and authorities are in contact with her, Roger Maier, a spokesman for US Customs and Border Protection, told the AP on Thursday. Maier couldn’t provide more details. Border authorities encountered more than 9,000 children without a parent in February, the highest single month since May 2019, when 11,000 unaccompanied minors came to the border.
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