For the first time ever, Customs and Border Protection reports that more than two million individuals have been encountered coming into the country illegally this fiscal year, with one month left of reporting to go.
While reports of the skyrocketing numbers are plentiful, stories are hard to find demonstrating the human cost of Biden’s abdication on the border.
Recently, Texas Scorecard sent a team to Texas’ southern border for the purpose of capturing firsthand the human tragedy unfolding at the hands of a dangerous cartels and the out-of-touch administration in Washington.
Sheena Rodriguez, the president of Alliance for a Safe Texas, was among those in the delegation. And while she crossed paths with large numbers of illegal aliens coming across the border during this visit, one stuck out: Jocelyn.
Rodriguez says she found Jocelyn “by the grace of God” just after midnight along the border outside Roma, Texas. This border city is the site of some of the worst abuses in the cartels’ human trafficking operations. The area around Roma is so bad, law enforcement officials actively discourage reporters and others from entering the area at any time, day or night.
“It was pitch dark, to the point where you can’t see your face,” explained Rodriguez. “We had an interaction with one of the coyotes over there in that area and we walked further down and then we decided to go back to another spot, which according to the National Guard, was set up at the top of a ridge.”
As it turns out, the spot also happened to be a rather dangerous one, with Rodriguez saying National Guard troops had been fired upon earlier in the day.
“You could still see the tent spikes from the National Guard where they literally hightailed it out of there and didn’t even care, they were ‘like we’re just leaving them behind.’ So it was a very dangerous area. So much so that the Guard wasn’t even there.”
While the National Guard may not have been there, Rodriguez and the Scorecard team weren’t alone. In a dark patch along the river, near some debris and rafts, was a 13-year-old girl named Jocelyn. She was scared and alone, with tears in her eyes.
Jocelyn had made the trip with her mother and three brothers from Belize. She was separated from them while traveling through Mexico. On her arm, a wristband reading “entregas,” the spanish word for deliveries, as well as the number 3120. The markings are typical of those being trafficked by cartel members.
“When we spoke to her, she said that it was after they separated her that they put the bracelet on her and that she did not know what it meant. They never told her, they never said anything. They just put it on her after they separated her from her mother and her brothers,” said Rodriguez.
The meaning of the number and the color are unclear to authorities, though could refer to the amount paid, the destination, or the cartels’ intended use for the person.
Jocelyn said the separation happened two or three days prior, though she couldn’t be certain. When she was taken to the river, a man brought her across on a raft and told her to wait until she found a man from “immigration.” She was then left alone in the dark.
She said she expected to go to her uncle, though she did not have his phone number written down or saved in her flip phone. Rodriguez and the team waited with Jocelyn until law enforcement could be contacted; the girl was then taken by Border Patrol to be processed.
Her fate going forward, however, is largely unknown. Among the many issues created by the Biden administration’s disastrous approach to the border, this is an area Rodriguez says both the federal and state government need to improve.
“There is currently no way for us to be able to follow up to make sure as a state that she is taken care of that she is does not become one of these 20 to 40 percent that go missing even though she came through Texas and she’s going through facilities in our state. There needs to be something in place,” explained Rodriguez.
The grim reality is that the overwhelmed system means Jocelyn could still end up trafficked into sex work or otherwise slip through the legal system and into a life of crime and misery.
“As a mother, if I put my child as a Texan and as a U.S. citizen in a dangerous situation, I’m going to be having [Child Protective Services] knocking on my door, charging me with child endangerment, and rightfully so… Why are these parents, those who are paying for these children to take this dangerous trek knowing the very real likelihood of the abuse or death, held to a different standard? Why am I discriminated against as an American citizen held to a different standard than these illegals coming over and putting these children’s literally in life or death unnecessary situations?”
Chris Russo, the president of Texans for Strong Borders, agreed.
“We have personally heard testimony from Border Patrol agents who were forced to turn children over to adults claiming to be legal guardians who were clearly strangers to the children in question,” said Russo. “Make no mistake: the narcoterrorist cartels are using an invasion they are orchestrating to mask their lucrative human trafficking operations. The Biden Administration has done nothing but incentivize these horrors with their refusal to secure the border. As long as the border stays open, the human trafficking and drug trafficking will continue.”
All photographs for Texas Scorecard by Brandon Parscale.