An illegal border crossing in broad daylight was caught on video by a CBS News reporter — and it all took place less than 100 yards from a port of entry, the network said.
CBS News’ David Begnaud said he and his producer — working on a story last Wednesday about the border wall President Donald Trump wants to build — crossed the Rio Grande river on an international bridge from Roma, Texas, into Mexico.
As they positioned themselves along the river bank, Begnaud noticed a man on a raft paddling across the water to the U.S. side, and the reporter began recording the action with his cellphone, CBS News said. Two other people in the raft appeared to be wearing life jackets, he reported.
‘We were scared’
Then a “scout” — using a walkie-talkie to communicate with the smuggler in the raft — approached Begnaud and his producer, speaking in Spanish and waving his arms and telling the pair to leave, CBS News said.
The scout followed Begnaud and his producer to their rental vehicle, leaned on the window, and told them the area wasn’t safe for them, the network said.
“We were scared,” Begnaud reported. “It was ominous to listen to him.”
He added that the scout “watches” and “lets the smuggler know how to get the people on to the other side.”
About 10 minutes later, Begnaud and his producer were back on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande — and they took video of the same smuggler walking back across the river.
The smuggler spotted the pair and gave them the finger as he continued across, Begnaud reported.
‘This is an example of why the Trump administration has been pushing for a border wall’
“This is an example of why the Trump administration has been pushing for a border wall,” Begnaud added later in his report on the incident.
He also said area residents told him they “need more Border Patrol officers, more cameras, more blimps, and more modern technology to try and detect the people who are crossing.”
But the quickness and ease with which the smuggler crossed — and the passengers presumably escaped into the U.S. — demonstrated to Begnaud that “you don’t need much modern technology to see what we saw today,” CBS News said.
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The incident highlights an ongoing issue that U.S. Border Patrol has been talking about: people swim or walk from Mexico to the U.S. across the Rio Grande river. What was surprising, however, was that it happened in broad daylight about 100 yards from the international bridge where dozens of Customs and Border Protection officers were stationed.
Those officers, however, are focused on vehicles. CBS News did see two uniformed officers standing on top the bridge, checking people as they walked onto the bridge and into the U.S.
Around the time the incident with the raft occurred, there was a shift change for Border Patrol. A source within the agency said smugglers know exactly what time to do this type of activity on the river, Begnaud reports.
CBS News added that as far as it could tell, Border Patrol never found the two people smuggled across the Rio Grande even though two agents were called to look for them.
What did Border Patrol have to say about the incident?
“Roma, Texas, is located in one of the most volatile areas of the southwest border,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection told the network in a statement. “Smuggling events occur daily, at all hours, as criminal organizations seek to exploit any shortages or gaps in border infrastructure, technology and personnel.”
Here’s the video report: