Los Angeles, May 23 (EFE).- US Customs and Border Protection surveillance camera footage captured the moment a four-year-old boy was dropped over a high United States-Mexico border barrier earlier this month in a nighttime attempt to evade detection.
The footage taken in San Diego, California, located across the border from Tijuana, Mexico, shows the young child after being dropped waiting for a group of people to make their way over the wall at a point just east of the San Ysidro port of entry at around 9 pm on May 15.
US Border Patrol Chief Raul L. Ortiz said Monday on Twitter that the boy was attended to by a team of first responders and “remarkably” suffered no injuries in the fall.
He also said that Border Patrol agents and emergency medical services personnel who provided first aid to the boy “reported gunshots near their position.”
An investigation is under way to identify the suspects who appear in the surveillance footage.
“Do not trust smugglers!” Ortiz wrote at the conclusion of his tweet, which was accompanied by the 90-second video.
The CPB reported the incident last Friday.
“As agents rendered aid to an injured 4-year-old boy, the reported gunfire began. The boy was dropped from the primary border barrier by an individual entering the United States illegally. Agents reported hearing both the impact and ricochet of gunshots off of the secondary border barrier just north of their location,” it said.
More than 10 days after the end of Title 42, a US pandemic-era border policy that allowed federal agents to immediately deport migrants and asylum-seekers for public health reasons, Tijuana remains a major transit point for migrants hoping to make their way to the US.
Activists and religious organizations have reported a sharp increase in the number of migrants seeking shelter in recent days, partly because people have been dissuaded from climbing over the border barrier with the transition back to Title 8 processing.
For example, the director of “Agape Mision Mundial,” Albert Rivera Colon, told Efe that his shelter experienced a 500 percent increase in migrants last week.
Title 8’s decades-old authorities “carry steep consequences for unlawful entry, including at least a five-year ban on reentry and potential criminal prosecution for repeated attempts to enter unlawfully,” the US Department of Homeland Security said in a fact sheet released in late April.
By contrast, under Title 42 those caught illegally and deported faced no penalties and therefore often made repeated attempts to enter the US unlawfully.
This month, President Joe Biden’s administration also implemented a controversial new regulation that effectively prevents migrants from applying for asylum in the US if they traveled through other countries on the way to the US-Mexico border.
According to the text of that regulation, it aims to “encourage migrants to avail themselves of lawful, safe, and orderly pathways into the United States, or otherwise to seek asylum or other protection in countries through which they travel, thereby reducing reliance on human smuggling networks that exploit migrants for financial gain.” EFE