20 June, 2018
Authorities say five people have been charged in a "smuggling scheme" following a deadly crash involving an SUV fleeing Border Patrol agents and sheriff's deputies in South Texas.
Dimmit County Sheriff Marion Boyd said the crash happened off Highway 85 in Big Wells at about noon. ProPublica said the audio features 6-year-old Alison Jimena Valencia Madrid who was separated from her mother last week at a border facility, as well as other children, border patrol agents and consular workers.
Boyd says a deputy in the area responded and took over the high speed chase that reached more than 100 miles per hour.
He said four people died at the scene, and several were flown by emergency helicopter to a hospital in San Antonio. A fifth died later, on the way to the hospital.
U.S. Border Patrol agents take Central American asylum seekers into custody on June 12, 2018 near McAllen, Texas.
Border Patrol operations chief Brian Hastings said among the reasons the administration has argued to separate children from their parents was concern that child smugglers were pretending to be the parents.
Politicians and advocates flocked to the Mexican border to visit USA immigration detention centers and turn up the pressure on the Trump administration amid a growing uproar Monday over its policy of separating immigrant children from their parents. Most of the occupants in the SUV were believed in the country without legal permission.
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Attorneys at the hearings said the immigrants had brought two dozen boys and girls with them to the US, and the judge replied that he didn't know what would happen to their children.
An agent can be heard in Spanish joking, "Well, we have an orchestra here, right?"
Most of the passengers were ejected from the SUV in the crash.
The recording gives an apparent insight into the conditions on the southern U.S. border, where migrant families are split up and young children are being kept in cages in camps as part of a controversial clampdown on immigration introduced by Donald Trump's administration.
The policy has led to the controversial separation of children from their parents. That agent stopped one vehicle and radioed a description of the other two vehicles to other agents, the agency said.
"We must always arrest people coming into our Country illegally", Trump said. "This is, I think, a ideal example of why our borders need to be secure".
Immigration has been a sensitive issue in recent weeks with the Justice and Homeland Security Departments strictly applying immigration laws, which treat border-jumpers as lawbreakers worthy of prosecution.