A shocking video of two little girls dropped over a border barrier in New Mexico is fueling criticism of the Biden administration’s handling of the crisis at the southern border — with critics saying the administration is encouraging smugglers and illegal immigrants.
The video, released by El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez on Wednesday, shows what she said was two smugglers scaling the fence and dropping each child, a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old, onto the ground and harsh surface, before tossing what appears to be some belongings down.
The two smugglers then are seen fleeing from the southern side of the fence.
Chavez said the little girls were left “miles from the nearest residence.” They were picked up by agents after they were spotted via surveillance technology.
“I was really horrified and appalled and worried when I first saw the images come through from my staff,” Chavez told ‘Your World’ host Neil Cavuto. “When I saw that first child dropped to the ground and then not see her move for a few seconds, I honestly thought this child just probably hit her head and is unconscious. And then I see the second child and immediately DHS, obviously, within a few minutes responded to that area to rescue them.”
The video quickly caused outrage at the smugglers who dumped the sisters down the fence, but it has also increased criticism of the Biden administration’s handling of the crisis.
“The reason why we’re seeing the Biden border crisis is because Joe Biden said to the world, if you’re a kid or teenager or you purport to be a teeenager or you show up with a kid, we’ll let you into our country — what did he expect would happen?” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said on “America’s Newsroom.”
“There’s nothing virtuous or moral about inducing hundreds of thousands of migrants to make the journey, sometimes very dangerous, to our country even when they don’t have a legal right to be here,” he said.
Cotton’s comments came as multiple outlets, including Fox News, reported that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is on pace to have encountered more than 171,000 migrants in March — a significant increase from January and February and a sign that the migrant surge at the border is not slowing down.
Earlier Friday, Fox confirmed that CBP is projecting that as many as 184,000 unaccompanied children could reach the border this fiscal year.
The Biden administration has refused to call the increase in numbers a crisis, although it has admitted it is a “challenge” and has blamed the Trump administration for dismantling legal pathways for asylum. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday said the administration is focused on sending a “clear message” to migrants.
“That this is not the time to come. You should not send your kids on this treacherous journey,” she said. “That these smugglers are preying on vulnerabilities in these communities. There’s a lot of issues and steps we need to take to address root causes.”
However, Mark Morgan, acting CBP commissioner during the Trump administration, told Fox News the picture of the two little girls suggests that the Biden administration is sending the wrong message to people south of the border.
“It represents that now Moms and Dads are saying ‘It’s worth it, it’s worth it to hand my child over to the cartels and risking their lives, I’m going to intentionally separate my child from myself and hand them over to the smugglers and the traffickers because this administration will let them in,” he said.
Morgan cited the Biden administration’s decision not to apply Title 42 public health protections, which allow the quick removal of single adults and some migrant families, to unaccompanied children (UACs), as the Trump administration sought to do.
“Smugglers saw that as their opening and that’s what drove the UAC numbers right now,” he said.
He said that until that move, as well as other long-standing laws — like a 2008 human trafficking law that limits the U.S. ability to return unaccompanied children to Northern Triangle countries — are fixed, messages from the Biden administration telling migrants not to come would fall on deaf ears.
“They continue to lie and spin and misdirect what actually happens and actually factually happens in the minds of these individuals, and what happens with the cartels that’s motivating everybody — that’s the truth,” he said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday linked Biden’s policies to the increase in numbers, saying that “open border policies have created an open season for human traffickers, for drug smugglers, for cartels and gangs.”
Former Trump DHS official Ken Cuccinelli also linked the smugglers’ behavior to the Biden administration
“The most evil, heartless, vicious people in the entire Western Hemisphere are the people in the Mexican drug cartels that control the human smuggling over our Southern Border,” he tweeted. “The ‘Biden effect’ is a bonanza for them, not so much for everyone else.”
Republicans like Sen. Cotton have called on Biden to extend Title 42 to unaccompanied children and reinstate Trump-era policies like the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which kept migrants in Mexico and the Biden administration abolished after entering office.
Morgan was very clear about what he believed the solution is to the woes at the border.
“We should be securing the border, shutting down illegal immigration, because then we’re taking billions of dollars out of the hands of cartels, of human smuggling organizations, we’re going to reduce human suffering, reduce human trafficking and reduce the abuse of the vulnerable population looking for a better life,” he said.
“If you really care about them, you’ll shut that sh– down,” he said.
Fox News’ Griff Jenkins and Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.