This video of smugglers dropping two toddlers over the border wall and then running back to Mexico has become international news:
Fortunately the two girls, aged 3 and 5, were quickly picked up by the border patrol and are now safe. Monday, Telemundo spoke to the girls’ grandparents about how and why this happened:
They migrated from Jaboncillo, a small town in the mountains of Loja, in southern Ecuador. Her parents, Yolanda Macas Tene and Diego Vacacela Aguilar, also from that community, had recently emigrated to the United States and wanted to reunite with their daughters there.
“[The parents] wanted to be with them, their mother suffered a lot, for that reason they decided to take them ,” Lauro Vacacela, grandfather of the minors, told Noticias Telemundo.
Lauro Vacacela assured that he does not know with which human trafficker his son spoke to take his granddaughters or how much the trip cost. And it is a subject that causes him anguish.
The grandfather is now begging for Joe Biden to reunite the girls with their parents here in the U.S.
So let me sum up this situation as I understand it. The girls parents migrated from Ecuador, leaving their toddlers behind with their grandparents. The parents made it into the U.S. in one of two ways, either they crossed the border illegally or they came across and claimed asylum and are currently waiting for a court date. Once the parents were in the U.S., they hired a smuggler to bring the two toddlers across the border alone. And now they want to be reunited and carry on as if all of this is normal.
It should go without saying that what these parents did was both illegal and extremely dangerous. If an American parent were to hire someone to take their toddlers and literally toss them over the border alone in the desert, that parent would be arrested and investigated for child endangerment. They would be in danger of having their children taken from them by the local child services agency and have to make a case before a judge why they should get those kids back.
The only wrinkle I could possibly see here is if the smuggler was actually another family member, but no one seems to be claiming that’s the case. On the contrary, the grandfather told Telemundo about the smugglers taking his grandkids to the border, “Yeah, it can be a little risky, so to speak.”
The other factor here is that the people who did this aren’t citizens. Again, they’re either here illegally, in which case they should be deported immediately, or they claimed asylum which is what most migrants from Central America do these days. But asylum claims don’t apply to things like wanting a better job or a better life. Asylum is based on the idea of some kid of political persecution or imminent danger back at home. So in this case an asylum judge might reasonably ask the following question of these parents: How is it that your situation at home in Ecuador was so dangerous that you felt compelled to come here and claim asylum in the U.S. and yet you felt comfortable leaving your toddlers behind?
I don’t know, maybe there’s a reasonable answer to that question but at a glance it looks as if the parents came first and left the kids where they thought they’d be safe. In other words, it seems to undercut their asylum claim. But the main point is that they committed a crime involving smuggling their own children. That might have escaped notice if it hadn’t been caught on video, but it was. We all know what these parents did and even if we understand it on some level, it’s still illegal and dangerous.
And yet, it doesn’t seem to matter. This story is international news with people around the world shocked by what they saw in the video above, but there’s no official reaction to it so far. It appears we’re just going to overlook the red flags and illegal behavior and hand these kids back to the parents and let them continue to live here while they pursue their (likely) bogus asylum claims. And everyone looking on from Central America will see this and decide now is a great time to send their kids. This is no way to run a border.