VIDEO: Masked smuggler rafts migrant families across Rio Grande as dozens look on

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EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Ahead of his tour of a detention facility and a roundtable discussion with border officials and leaders on Friday, the office of Congressman Henry Cuellar released a video of a masked man rafting several migrant families — mostly women and children — across the Rio Grande.

Cuellar’s office only said the video was taken in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley this month, adding that Cuellar “is not able to say who gave him the video.”

The two-minute video shows the raft coming across the river while dozens of migrants appear to be waiting for their turn on the Mexican side of the river.

What is not shown are at least two men speaking in English. They welcome the man in the mask and even share a joke. The men behind the camera welcome the women and children as they get off the raft.

Hola, hola, como esta?” one says to a woman.

At the end of the video, one of the men behind the camera tells the masked man, in Spanish, that they are “going to the station,” to which the masked man replies, “I’ll drop off the others right here.”

As a response to the growing number of migrant families and unaccompanied migrants children crossing the border illegally, Cuellar, D-Texas, and U.S. Sen. Cornyn, R-Texas, on Friday toured the detention facility for migrant children ages 13-17 in Carrizo Springs, Texas. That was followed by a briefing from U.S. Border Patrol Sector Chief for the Del Rio Sector, Austin Skero, and representatives from the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and Removal Operations (ICE-ERO), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and BCFS, according to a news release.

The Texas lawmakers were then expected to hold a roundtable discussion in Laredo with local leaders and officials about the impact of the recent increase in migration. 

The officials expected to take part in the roundtable include:

  • Dr. Pablo Arenaz, President, Texas A&M International University
  • Pete Saenz, Mayor, City of Laredo
  • Tano Tijerina, County Judge, Webb County
  • Luis Sifuentes, Mayor, City of Eagle Pass
  • George Antuna, City Manager, City of Eagle Pass
  • Sister Rosemary Welsh, Executive Director, Casa de Misericordia
  • Michael Gonzalez, Senior Director of External Affairs, Laredo College
  • Susan Kibbe, Executive Director, South Texas Property Rights Association
  • Brandon Judd, President, National Border Patrol Council
  • Paul Perez, Executive VP, National Border Patrol Council and Union President, Rio Grande Valley
  • Hector Garza, Vice President, National Border Patrol Council and Union President, Laredo.

Cornyn and Cuellar will then hold a joint press conference. Border Report correspondent Sandra Sanchez is at the roundtable discussion. Look for her report later at BorderReport.com.

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