Two Ecuadorean girls who were abruptly dumped over a steel barrier at the Mexico-United States border could soon be reunited with their parents in New York City, an official with Consulate of Ecuador in Houston told DailyMail.com on Wednesday.
Surveillance video footage released by Border Patrol showed the moment on March 30 when a human smuggler dropped Yareli, three, and her five-year-old sister Yasmina over the 14-foot high border wall in New Mexico last Tuesday.
Another smuggler was waiting on the American side to catch the girls, who were then tossed to the ground. Both smugglers then fled, abandoning the children.
The surveillance camera operator immediately alerted Santa Teresa Border Patrol Station agents and directed them to the remote location.
The girls’ mother, Yolanda Macas Tene, and father, Diego Vacacela Aguilar, had left their Ecuadorean home not long before, relatives said, and were awaiting their daughters in New York City.
El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez provides snacks to the two girls from Ecuador who were abandoned by human smugglers and dropped over a 14-foot high border wall in New Mexico last Tuesday. An official with the Consulate of Ecuador in Houston told DailyMail.com on Wednesday that the children will be reunited with their parents, who reside in New York
Footage release by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows a human smuggler (top) climbing over the Mexico-United States border wall in New Mexico after dropping two sisters from Ecuador, aged 3 and 5, over the steel barrier last Tuesday
Their paternal grandfather, Lauro Vacacela, told Telemundo from the family hometown of Jaboncillo that the couple were desperate to be reunited with their children.
‘Their parents really wanted to be with them, and the mother was suffering immensely, so they sent for them,’ he said.
The girls had lived with Vacacela, and their brightly-painted pink bedroom still had all their toys and clothes.
Vacacela did not know how the girls arrived at the border, or how much was paid to the people traffickers, known as ‘coyotes’.
Asked if he was concerned, he replied: ‘Yes, it can be rather risky, you could say.’
Lauro Vacacela, grandfather of the girls, spoke from the family home in Jaboncillo, Ecuador
Vacacela showed Telemundo the bright pink bedroom where the young girls lived
The girls’ maternal aunt, Rosa Macas, said she was horrified when she saw what happened to the two.
‘Maybe if they had been with me, they would never have left,’ she said.
Manuel Macas, their maternal grandfather, begged Joe Biden to allow the family to be reunited in New York.
‘Help us – let these two innocent girls be with their parents in New York, so they can be loved’ he said.
Magdalena Núñez told DailyMail.com that Consulate of Ecuador officials had a chance to speak with the girls via a videoconference call on Monday.
‘The girls are in excellent health,’ she said in phone interview.
On Wednesday it emerged that, two days after the Ecuadorean girls were abandoned, a 10-year-old Nicaraguan boy had been found alone.
The child was found sobbing uncontrollably, stumbling along a desert road in Texas.
He asked the border agent: ‘Can you help me?’
He explained that the group of migrants he had been traveling with had abandoned him while he slept.
Attempting to prevent future incidents similar the one involving the two Ecuadorean girls and the Nicaraguan boy will certainly be at the top of the to do list for Vice President Kamala Harris, who on March 24 was picked by Biden to lead the efforts in crafting a solution for its immigration crisis.
Harris has, however, still to visit the United States-Mexico border or even hold a press conference about her new duties in the two weeks since being tasked with addressing the migrant crisis.
The Vice President spent Easter weekend at her Brentwood home in Southern California, but did not find time in her schedule to visit the nearby border.
In the past two weeks she has also visited Connecticut for a talk with the Boys and Girls Club of New Haven and flew out Oakland to meet with California governor Gavin Newsom to show support amid his potential recall election.
Núñez added that the consulate is pleased with the treatment that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has provided for the sisters, who are currently being held at the El Paso Processing Center.
U.S. federal guidelines stipulate that children can’t be held at the detention centers past 72 hours after they have been apprehended by the Border Patrol.
The law requires the children to be transferred to the care of the Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]. The Office of Refugee Resettlement is in charge of providing longer-term shelters for the minors.
Núñez could not provide a specific timeline for the girl to be reunited with their parents, who live in New York.
‘They will do it as agile as possible. The consulate has been looking to make sure that they are placed at a safe place,’ she said.
It’s unknown if the parents are legally residing in the United States.
Immediately after the girls landed on the ground, two smugglers could be seen fleeing on the Mexican side of the border
CBP stats show that more than 4,000 people who were abandoned by human smugglers, or ‘coyotes’ as they are referred to in Spanish, have been rescued by Border Patrol agents in the southwest border region since October 1, 2020.
‘The inhumane way smugglers abuse children while profiting off parents’ desperation is criminal and morally reprehensible. Just this month, a young girl died by drowning, a six-month-old was thrown into the river, and two young children were dropped from a wall and left in the desert alone,’ Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
‘There can be no doubt that children are exceptionally vulnerable when placed in the hands of smugglers. There is grave risk they will be exploited and harmed. I applaud our heroic Border Patrol agents who have saved lives this week and every week, while putting their own lives at risk for the greater good of the country.’
U.S. Border Patrol EL Paso Sector Chief Gloria Chavez previously had mentioned that the agency’s goal was to reunite the girls with the parents.
‘I’m appalled by the way these smugglers viciously dropped innocent children from a 14-foot border barrier at night. If they had not been seen, the girls could have been left in the desert for hours,’ Chavez said.
‘We are currently working with our law enforcement partners in Mexico and attempting to identify these ruthless human smugglers so as to hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law.’
New government statistics released last week revealed that 171,000 migrants were caught by US authorities at the border in March – the highest monthly total in two decades and the latest sign of the mounting humanitarian challenge confronting President Joe Biden.
The total includes about 19,000 unaccompanied migrant children and 53,000 family members traveling together, the preliminary figures showed.
A bakery, a water plant and her LA home: Everywhere Kamala has flown in the 14 days since she was placed in charge of migration crisis (but not, obviously, the border)
Kamala Harris has still to visit the US-Mexico border or even hold a press conference about her new duties in the two weeks since being tasked with addressing the migrant crisis.
The Vice President spent Easter weekend at her Brentwood home in Southern California where she baked a ‘beautiful’ roast pork with rice and peas, but did not find time in her schedule to visit the nearby border.
In the past two weeks she has also visited Connecticut for a talk with the Boys and Girls Club of New Haven, traveled to Oakland to meet with Gavin Newsom to show support amid his potential recall election, and made a trip to a bakery in Chicago.
Harris has also been busy moving into her new residence at the Naval Observatory just days after she complained about living out of suitcases while it was being renovated.
On March 24, she was tasked with leading the efforts to tackle the ‘humanitarian crisis’ amid a surge of migrants trying to enter the US since Joe Biden‘s administration came into office.
Since being appointed Border Czar, the Vice President has jetted all over the US without visiting the ‘humanitarian crisis’ in the south
New government statistics released last week revealed that 171,000 migrants were caught by US authorities at the border in March – the highest monthly total in two decades.
It comes as Biden’s Homeland Security head is looking to crack down on illegal immigration by taking more legal action against border jumpers and targeting US cities that act as a safe haven.
The total includes about 19,000 unaccompanied migrant children and 53,000 family members traveling together, the preliminary figures showed.
The March arrest totals at the US-Mexico border represent the highest monthly level since April 2000 when border patrol agents caught more than 180,000 migrants.
But Harris has stayed publicly silent on the issue and has not held a press conference or major interview about her new duties she was assigned them two weeks ago.
Harris visited the Brown Sugar Bakery in Chicago on Tuesday after touring a Covid vaccine site
The March arrest totals at the US-Mexico border represent the highest monthly level since April 2000
Harris speaks about investing in small businesses using community banking at Red Door Catering in Oakland
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich invited the Vice President on a tour of the border this month in a letter on Friday.
He wrote: ‘Recently, you stated, “You have to see and smell and feel the circumstances of people to really understand them.” With that in mind, I formally invite you to join me for a tour of the southwest border in Arizona later this month.
‘It will provide firsthand insight into what Arizonans, law enforcement officials and migrants are experiencing. I will make myself available any day of your choosing.’
Shortly after her appointment, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey also branded Harris ‘the worst possible choice’ to lead the border team, saying Biden had ‘completely trivialized the issue by putting someone in charge who flat out just doesn’t care’.
Ted Cruz added ‘she is not going to be able to solve this crisis’, branding it Biden’s ‘biggest political mess’.
Biden initially said his vice president would be in charge of returning migrants to their home countries in her new role.
He said: ‘The vice president has agreed… to lead our diplomatic effort and work with those nations to accept the returnees, and enhance migration enforcement at their borders.’
The White House later claimed Harris was not directly involved with the border crisis but was instead addressing its ‘root causes’.
Her schedule shows that since she was tasked with helping the crisis, she has largely remained in Washington DC.
On March 25, her only public duty was the White House’s virtual Passover celebration with her husband Doug Emhoff, while the following day she visited New Haven, Connecticut, to meet with the Boys and Girls Club.
She spent the weekend in Washington DC with no public commitments, before receiving a Covid briefing and joining Biden for a speech on their pandemic response on the Monday.
On Tuesday March 30, Harris received the President’s daily brief in the morning before signing the PPP extension into law in the Oval Office.
She also carried out the only known work related to the border since being appointed Border Czar as she held a phone call with President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala.
So far, 64,000 migrants out of the 350,000 who have been caught by US authorities at the border were Guatemalan.
A statement said: ‘They discussed the significant risks to those leaving their homes and making the dangerous journey to the United States, especially during a global pandemic.’
The following day, she led a discussion with faith leaders where she encouraged their communities to take up the vaccine.
She returned home to California on Thursday, April 1, her third visit during the administration.
Harris spent the weekend at home where she baked a ‘beautiful’ roast pork with rice and peas, according to the LA Times.
She had no public events over the weekend until she traveled to her hometown of Oakland on Monday where she met with California Gov. Gavin Newsom and gave her support as he faces a potential recall election.
The Vice President toured a water treatment plant to highlight the benefits of the American Jobs Plan and held a ‘listening session’ with business owners.
She said during her visit to the East Bay Municipal Utility District’s Upper San Leandro treatment plant, in an area affected by drought: ‘For years there were wars fought over oil. In a short time there will be wars fought over water.
‘We must address inequities in access to clean water, at local state federal levels, understanding opportunities to build back up infrastructure around water.’
Republican National Committee spokesman Keith Schipper said: ‘It’s been nearly two weeks since Vice President Kamala Harris was named manager of the Biden Border Crisis, and while she has made time to return home to the Bay Area, Harris has refused to visit the border — which is only 500 miles from her location today — to survey the crisis firsthand.
‘Californians don’t find this border crisis funny and demand the so-called manager get to work fixing the problem this administration created.’
On Tuesday, Harris traveled to Chicago where she toured a Covid vaccine site before returning to Washington D.C.
Upon her return to DC, Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff moved in to their official residence, just days after it emerged she was unhappy about living out of suitcases while it was being renovated.
The Naval Observatory – the VP’s official residence – has been out of action for more than two months while it undergoes much-needed updates.
The pair had been living at Blair House, across the road from the White House, since January – an arrangement that was reportedly beginning to wear on Harris.
‘She is getting frustrated,’ an administration official told CNN, noting that every day her desire to move into her designated house grows more intense.
But it seems that she has now had the green light to move into the official property.
Just days before she was tasked with addressing the migrant crisis, Harris laughed when she was asked if she would visit the border.
She was in Jacksonville to address food insecurity and vaccinations when asked if she had plans to visit the border.
Harris replied laughing: ‘Not today. But I have before and I’m sure I will again.’