A seven-year-old girl was abandoned by a people smuggler on the southern US border with Mexico, video of the incident shows.
The US defence department released video of the abandonment on Wednesday, and said it had responded to the incident as it unfolded. The girl was unharmed.
She had been clinging to his back.
Operators at remote video surveillance system in El Centro, California, watched and waited for the smuggler to lower the child before responding.
“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,” a statement read.
“Just north of the border wall is the All-American Canal, which posed another physical danger to the child.”
Authorities said the girl was from El Salvador, and that she was transferred to a processing centre for migrants in El Centro, where a welfare check and medical examination were performed.
She is among the hundreds and thousands of migrants who have arrived from Mexico and South America to the US this year, with crossings at a 21-year high.
A seven-year-old girl was abandoned by a smuggler in California after being lifted over the U.S./Mexico border fence on Tuesday. The smuggler went back over the fence to Mexico after leaving the young girl. pic.twitter.com/k8PyxTCKyE
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 13, 2021
“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” said chief patrol agent Gregory K Bovino.
“Smugglers will always view children as a commodity to gain a profit, disregarding the safety and well-being of any individual except their own.”
The Biden administration has deported thousands of migrants, mostly Haitian, back to the country after arriving without documentaton to enter the US — even children.
Critics of the deportations and a law passed by the Trump administration to remove migrants from the US for health reasons, have highlighted that the deportations counteract the right to seek asylum,