SAN DIEGO (AP) — A 4-year-old child was dropped into the United States from a high border wall with Mexico in a surveillance video that captures a routine — and highly risky — occurrence.
“Remarkably, the child is ok!” Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz tweeted in his caption to the agency’s one-minute, 37-second video, which was posted on Twitter on Monday. “Do not trust smugglers!”
The jerky, black-and-white images appear to show the child and one adult being aided by another adult over the wall, which rises as high 30 feet (9.1 meters) between Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego, California. Ortiz said agents heard gunfire while tending to the child.
The child came with two adults, all of whom were in Border Patrol custody, agency spokesman Michael Scappechio said Tuesday. It had not been confirmed if the adults were the child’s parents or what nationality they were. It was also unclear if they would be released in the United States to pursue immigration cases or deported.
Attempts to get over the wall happen daily but are less common among children of such young ages, Scappechio said.
Researchers have found sharp increases in deaths and severe injuries associated with trying to overcome the San Diego wall since it was heightened during the Trump administration. A study published last year in JAMA Surgery found 16 deaths from 2019 to 2021, compared to zero from 2016 to 2018 and 375 severe injuries from 2019 to 2021 compared to 67 from 2016 to 2018.
An end to pandemic-era limits on asylum on May 11 was expected to bring more illegal crossings but the opposite has occurred so far. Ortiz said Monday that illegal crossings totaled 8,750 over the previous 72 hours for a daily average of 2,916, down from a daily average of more than 10,000 just before the restrictions lifted.