EL PASO (Texas) -- President Donald Trump's Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection toured a section of the new border wall here at 30 feet high in August 2020. He told the local newspaper that the steel beams were impressive.
Commissioner Mark Morgan stated that "It physically represents exactly what we have been trying to achieve since Day One." "This is to give Border Patrol more operational capacity to do the job they need to protect the country."
Fast forward almost two years, and illegal border crossings have reached an all-time high. Border Patrol agents and local paramedics responded to 229 injuries and deaths since October 2021. This is because migrants scale the Mexican steel barrier, then fall 30ft onto U.S. soil.
NBC News was able to see the aftermath of a recent injury while riding along Border Patrol agents. A teenage girl, agents claim, fell from the wall's top and was left alone at its bottom. As she struggled to breathe, she writhed in pain and was taken to the hospital by paramedics.
Agent Valeria Morales stated that the smuggler exploited this little girl. "She was forced by a smuggler to climb the border barrier, and she fell."
Morales stated that it is a common scene: Smugglers make ladders to climb the fence, forcing migrants to the top. They often tell them they can scale down the fence. Many people are unable to hold onto the hot steel posts or lack the strength to do so.
Morales stated that broken ankles, broken legs, and even brain or spinal injuries are all common.
The Trump administration constructed 133 miles in Texas and New Mexico bollard-style fencing for the Border Patrol's El Paso Sector. This covers the entire border between Mexico & New Mexico. It was built to replace a section of the previous barrier that consisted of two layers mesh netting. This is much easier to cut through. Morales and her colleagues often wonder why migrants are forced to climb the wall instead of cutting through the mesh. It speaks to the cruel way that smugglers see migrants, they say.
The Border Patrol must also dedicate personnel and time to responding to emergency situations at the border wall.
Two young sisters were thrown over El Paso's wall by smugglers in a 2021 video. Both sisters survived without injury.