Video: Man Smuggles Migrants Across Border Near Rio Grande River, Gives Camera Middle Finger

Video shows a man on a raft smuggling a pair of immigrants across the Rio Grande river separating the United States and Mexico—just yards from a heavily armed port of entry. 

A CBS News crew, who filmed the encounter, said they were "threatened" by a human smuggling scout near Roma, Texas, that allegedly helped the trio on the raft find an illegal route across the border Wednesday. There are at least hundreds of successful and unsuccessful illegal border crossings through the Rio Grande Valley each month, but this incident comes as the Trump administration has increased U.S. Border Patrol and National Guard presence at the Mexican border. The video shows a man on a raft pushing away from the Mexican side of the river as two people in life jackets join him on the flotation device. 

The incident took place just 100 yards from Roma's large international bridge and legal port of entry. The two-way highway features several heavily armed U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents who process vehicles passing between the two countries.

As the CBS News crew watched the smuggler paddle the pair across the Rio Grande water, another man approached them speaking Spanish and warned them to leave the area. The man can be seen in the video gesturing for the news crew to leave the area. Journalist David Begnaud said the scout used a walkie-talkie to speak with the man on the raft before he followed them to their vehicle, leaned in the window, and told them they were not safe in the area. 

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 4 A man was seen smuggling a pair of people illegally across the Rio Grande river border between Mexico and the U.S. just yards from a legal entry point. CBS News | Screenshot

After the crew returned to the American side of the border, they recorded the smuggler walking back across the shallow, waist-high water to return to the Mexican side of the border. He showed the news crew his middle finger and "faded off into the treeline," Begnaud said. The pair of people who were smuggled illegally across the river ran into the Texas woods and were not found by the two agents who were called in to search for them

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection report for May and June, at least 434 migrants were processed in a single 24-hour period at the U.S. Border Patrol station about 55 miles away from Roma in McAllen, Texas. As temperatures rise, so do the number of attempts at migrants illegally crossing the border, a Trump adviser told The Washington Post last month. 

One U.S. Border Patrol agent told the Post that the Rio Grande Valley is the busiest corridor for illegal immigration in the country. “The numbers have been very high [this year], it’s to the point that we have had to bring in buses to come out and load these folks up, or send four of five vans at a time.” Additional agents from other parts of the border and even the National Guard have been deployed in the are to sew up similar easy, illegal routes into the country.

In response to the CBS News report, right-wing website Breitbart News sarcastically responded with a headline, "CBS News Surprised To Realize Border is Open And Unsafe."