Ecuadorian girls aged 3 and 5 are now in charge of the Refugee Resettlement Office; Consulate says reunion with parents in New York City likely
by: Julian Resendiz
Posted: Apr 13, 2021 / 4:35 am CDTUpdated: April 13, 2021 / 4:35 a.m. CDT
EL PASO, Texas (border report) – The two Ecuadorian toddlers who were captured by a surveillance camera dropped over the border barrier and abandoned by smugglers are one step closer to reuniting their families in the United States.
The girls, ages 3 and 5, were released from Border Police custody Monday and placed in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services Refugee Resettlement Office, a federal official said.
The dropping of small children over the border wall reflects the smugglers’ mentality that “migrants are goods”.
“A case worker from HHS will start working with you. Most of the time, they turn to family members for interviews and reviews to make sure there is a safe place for the child, ”said Landon Hutchens, a spokesman for US Customs and Border Protection. “Most of the time, they’re trying to get them to stay with a family member – a parent, an uncle, or someone else. And when that isn’t available, they try to put them in foster homes. “
The case gained worldwide attention when a CBP camera captured the moment a smuggler straddled the border wall near Sunland Park, New Mexico, released the girls one by one, and ran back to Mexico with an accomplice. The video shows one girl’s legs bending forward and pointing towards the ground while the other falls backwards as the smuggler lets go.
On Monday, CBP released a photo of the two girls in identical blue clothes chatting with El Paso Border Police Sector Head Gloria Chavez over a tray in a processing center.
Gloria Chavez, Sector Head of the El Paso Border Police, hands the two Ecuadorian girls (CBP) a meal tray
The girls are now “in good health and in good shape,” said Hutchens.
Last week, the Ecuadorian Consulate in Houston identified the children of Diego Vacacela and Yolanda Macas as Yareli, 3, and Yasmina, 5. A consular officer told the New York Post that the girls would eventually be reunited with their parents in New York City.
In a Facebook post on April 2, the consulate described the incident as a “reprehensible” act that led to the “inhuman” abandonment of the two minors by smugglers.
Mothers with a migration background respond to the video about the border wall: “I wouldn’t risk my daughters like that.”
“The (State Department) opposes and condemns attitudes of contempt for human life of criminals who interact with migrants illegally, and urges families and parents not to expose themselves or their children to the dangers of irregular migration “said the consulate in its contribution.
The identity and whereabouts of the smugglers shown in the video are unknown.
“The US Border Protection Agency, El Paso, continues to work with Immigration and Customs Services and the Mexican government to prosecute the suspects responsible for the reckless endangerment of the lives of the two rescued Ecuadorian girls,” CBP said in a statement to Border Report. “There have been no arrests to date and the Mexican government has opened an investigation into this tragic incident.”
The Mexican side of Mount Cristo Rey, from which the smugglers apparently brought the girls over, is a well-known starting point for secret drugs and migrant crossings. Just days before the incident, a Border Report / KTSM crew discovered men who appeared to be lookouts on the Mexican side of the mountain.
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The Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels and their associated gangs are the main transnational criminal organizations operating in the field, CBP told Border Report.
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