A Mexican woman was discovered hanging from a border fence by Border Patrol agents after she was abandoned by smugglers.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said that two smugglers were attempting to get the 37-year-old woman down off of the fence, but fled when they saw agents approaching, Fox reports.
“Agents patrolling the border east of Nogales witnessed two smugglers attempting to lower the woman into the United States from Mexico using a harness and hoist rope,” said the CBP, according to KTLA.
The woman was dangling about 15 feet from the ground. She tried to climb back over the fence as the smugglers ran away.
The woman was reported to be uninjured after fire fighters brought her down; she is now facing charges for immigration violations.
Border Patrol data has shown that apprehensions at the southwest border of the U.S. have seen a sharp decline — as much as 61 percent since November 2016, according to PolitiFact. The number of apprehensions at the border is the lowest in at least 17 years.
According to some experts, the decline in illegal immigration may be a result of President Donald Trump’s strong rhetoric against undocumented immigrants, rather than of any actual policy shifts.
“We will build, that’s right, a great, great border wall … And we will stop the drugs that are pouring into our country and poisoning our youth and plenty of others. We’re going to stop the drugs,” said the president in March.
“A lot of them are coming in from the southern border,” Trump added. “Since the day of my election, we’ve already cut illegal immigration at the southern border by 61 percent, think of that, 61 percent, and we haven’t started.”
“The recent dip in apprehensions likely does signify a trend, in particular as apprehensions typically rise in March and early spring,” said Michelle Mittelstadt, a spokeswoman for the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute.
Mittelstadt said it’s unclear if the decline will be long-lasting or temporary, adding: “At this point it seems clear that would-be migrants are concerned about rising enforcement not just at the border but within the United States.”
Mittelstadt added that while fewer Mexicans have been apprehended by Border Patrol, around a third of those apprehended in 2016 were Central American families seeking refuge and unaccompanied minors who had given themselves over to immigration agents rather than trying to sneak in to the country.
“Amid overall declining unauthorized inflows, the Obama administration prioritized putting more people in formal removal proceedings rather than permitting voluntary return, which increases the range of punishments for those seeking to re-enter illegally,” said Mittelstadt.
“And during the Obama administration, as occurred with prior administrations, sizable new border enforcement resources were provided by Congress,” she added.