The plastic rosary was already falling apart, its white beads spilling onto the wet ground when the young woman was picked up by Border Patrol agents in predawn darkness.
The migrant from Guatemala, who had just run across patches of scrubland between Mexico and the US, refused to give her name. She was handed a plastic bag to stow her few belongings — hoop earrings, a creased card with an image of the Virgin Mary. She was told to remove the laces from her mud-caked sneakers. Laces and belts can be used as weapons, or to commit suicide, and Border Patrol agents demand they be removed as soon as people are caught.
Asked if she had traveled by herself to the border, the slight young woman who appeared to be in her 20s replied boldly: “I am not alone. God is with me.”
But she was actually among dozens of migrants apprehended that morning — as The Post accompanied a group of Border Patrol agents during a raid Wednesday along the New Mexico and Texas lines near El Paso. The area is one of the busiest crossing points for migrants along the nearly 2,000-mile southern border with Mexico. Migrants in the area cross a mountain range, desert and scrubland to reach the US.