A 7-year-old girl from El Salvador was hauled over the US-Mexico border wall by a smuggler who abandoned her before scaling back over the fence, video shows.
The girl was seen clinging to the man’s back as he climbed a rope ladder from Mexico over the 30-foot wall into an area about two miles from Calexico, California around 9:25 a.m. Tuesday, the US Customs and Border Control Protection said.
“Agents immediately recognized the dangerous situation created by the human smuggler and decided to wait for the child to be safely on the ground before making their approach,” the agency said.
“This decision was made out of caution, believing that the smuggler might panic and drop the child, resulting in serious injury or death given the height of the border wall.”
Footage showed the man lowering the girl to the ground and instructing her to walk north — away from the dangerous All-American Canal — before he returned to Mexico.
Border agents then conducted a welfare check on the girl and transported to the El Centro Sector Processing Center, officials said.
“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” Chief Patrol Agent Gregory K. Bovino said in a statement.
“Smugglers will always view children as a commodity to gain a profit, disregarding the safety and well-being of any individual except their own.”
It’s unclear whether any arrests have been made. The agency didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.