EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – With the statue atop Mount Cristo Rey in the background, a uniformed border agent gets off his patrol vehicle and yells in Spanish at the top of his lungs. “Hey! Parense!” (Hey, stop!)
But the five fleeing males don’t heed his warning. They continue onto a railroad bridge rising some 100 feet off the ground near Sunland Park, New Mexico. Soon enough, a train whistle sounds and the migrants run back towards the mountain. The locomotive engine overtakes them as witnesses below let out anxious shrieks.
The incident caught in a cellphone video shared on social media this week illustrates the dangers smugglers place migrants unfamiliar with the U.S.-Mexico border in, federal officials said.
“We have trains, water canals, a border barrier system and rough terrain. The migrants don’t know the schedule of the trains, they don’t know which direction to go. That’s the situation they’re placed in by ruthless smuggling organizations,” said Agent Carlos A. Rivera, a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman.
The agency doesn’t know when the near-miss happened but is confident neither the migrants nor the agent were injured. Border agents record the place and time of every apprehension and are required to report injuries and call for medical support when they happen. However, they’re not required to report near misses.
Mount Cristo Rey straddles the border and is often used by drug cartels on the Mexican side to smuggle migrants and illicit drugs into the United States. The migrants usually head west to be picked up by American “contractors” or Uber drivers in Sunland Park. The group seen in the video headed east toward the lengthy rail bridge that crosses the state line into El Paso.
“We definitely want people to be aware of the dangers and not place their lives in the hands of smugglers,” Rivera said.
The social media page where the video was posted stated the migrants survived and were apprehended by the Border Patrol.