A 29-second infrared video released by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) last week had captured a smuggler dropping the two children over the wall. The girls were taken by the CBP officials for a medical evaluation and then to a hospital.
An official with the Consulate of Ecuador in Houston confirmed to the media that the two girls will be taken to their parents who live in the New York City. The girls’ parents Yolanda Macas Tene and Diego Vacacela Aguilar are waiting to be reunited with their children.
Chief patrol agent Gloria I Chavez had released a statement that said: “I’m appalled by the way these smugglers viciously dropped innocent children from a 14-foot border barrier last night.” The authorities were working closely with counterparts on the Mexican side to identify the perpetrators.
After dropping the girls from over the wall, the smuggler had abandoned them just west of Mount Cristo Rey, where a border patrol camera operator spotted the smugglers using infrared camera technology. Another smuggler on the US side was supposed to take the girls. When the operator found the shocking video of toddlers being thrown over the wall, he immediately alerted border protection officials in Santa Teresa.
The White House had called the smugglers “morally reprehensible.” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary told reporters Wednesday last week: “I have seen the video, and I think that any of us who saw the video were incredibly alarmed by the steps of smugglers.”
She told the media that President Joe Biden condemned the actions of the smugglers. “The inhumane way that smugglers abuse children while profiting off parents’ desperation is criminal and morally reprehensible.”
The White House also thanked the border patrol officials for saving the two girls.
Telemundo reported that the family of the girls in Ecuador has appealed to the president to unite the girls with their parents. Manuel Macas, the maternal grandfather of the two girls, begged the US administration that the girls be allowed to meet their parents.
The parents of the girls had recently migrated to the United States from Jaboncillo, a small town in the mountains of Loja in southern Ecuador. They have contacted the girls who are under government custody at the moment at AL Paso, Texas.
The paternal grandfather of the girls Lauro Vacacela told Telemundo: “[The parents] wanted to be with them, their mother suffered a lot, for that reason they decided to take them.”
The shocking video of the girls being dropped over the 14-feet high border wall, which was released by the border protection officials, soon became viral on social media. Many expressed shock.
The family in Ecuador informed the media that they had no knowledge about which smuggler their son — father of the two minors — had spoken with. The news reports quoted the grandfather as saying that the topic of his son and daughter-in-law having paid the smugglers to bring their children to the US in this manner causes them “anguish.” It was unclear whether the parents of the two girls were residing legally in the US.
Telemundo reported that in March alone, “more than 18,500 unaccompanied minors entered the southern border — which is an increase of more than 60 per cent from the previous record in May 2019.”
The US Department of Health and Human Services had 12,918 migrant children in their care as of Tuesday last week, while CBP was responsible for the care of another 5,285. There are at least, on average, 500 unaccompanied children crossing the border every day.