PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — A video taken by a Mexican citizen shows the newly replaced border fence in Mexicali being scaled by two men with a rope ladder, one of whom makes it over to the United States.
The 38-second video shows a pair of men climbing the ladder while another holds it on the Mexico side of the border. After one man successfully slides down the railing to the U.S. side and starts running toward a second structure, another begins yelling in Spanish, "Hurry, hurry, jump the fence."
A vehicle that appears to belong to U.S. Border Patrol then pulls up and officials emerge, prompting the other men to gather the ladder and slide back down the fence into Mexico.
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The 16-year-old Mexican citizen who ran into the U.S. was apprehended by Border Patrol, Assistant Chief Patrol Agent Joshua Devack said in a video statement posted to Twitter.
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"All too often, criminal organizations exploit juveniles in this regard," Devack said in the video, which was shot at the same location.
U.S. immigration officials are working with Mexican authorities to locate the other two men, he said.
"In this particular incident, the border wall system worked exactly as designed," Devack said, noting detection technology and agent response.
The border wall system worked exactly as designed. The illicit traffic was slowed down, the detection technology alerted @CBPElCentro USBP agents, agents responded, and the subject was apprehended. pic.twitter.com/N9bLpob9Zg— CBP (@CBP) December 5, 2019
The original video was shot from a car and sent to Desert Sun photojournalist Omar Ornelas, who has documented immigration and border security for more than a decade. The Desert Sun, part of the USA TODAY Network, is not identifying the source due to fear of retaliation for filming the event.
Ornelas posted the video to Twitter on Tuesday and it has been viewed over 5 million times on the social media platform.
This type of activity — people scaling the wall — isn't unusual for the area, which is located east of the Calexico West Port of Entry, Ornelas says.
"What's unique is that it's dangerous to take video of this because the area is controlled by organized crime," he says.
The area is regularly patrolled by criminal organizations involved in human and drug trafficking, Ornelas says, and documentation — perceived or observed — can result in retaliation. At least five journalists have died and dozens of others attacked in Mexico this year, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
In February, U.S. Customs and Border Protection began construction on a fence that stretches about two miles along the U.S.-Mexicoborder in Calexico. The project isn't the same as President Donald Trump's planned border wall.
David Kim, assistant chief patrol agent for U.S. Border Patrol’s El Centro sector, previously told The Desert Sun that this fenceis an improvement project that began in 2009, long before Trump proposed building a "big, beautiful wall" that is projected to cost $18 billion.
Funding for the Calexico project – about $18 million – was allocated last year.
The Desert Sun's Rebecca Plevin contributed to this report.
Follow Brian De Los Santos on Twitter: @bdelossantos1