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Border Patrol Santa visits Chihuahuita with gifts for children ahead of Christmas

Twenty six years ago, the children of Chihuahuita got a surprise visit from Santa Claus before Christmas. Now, every year since 1992, the city and Border Patrol have helped Santa bring gifts to the small community sitting next to the Rio Grande.

The Christmas party was held in Chihuahuita’s community center, in the shadow of the border fence.

Carried in by a Border Patrol pickup truck, Santa’s ambassador to El Paso brought early Christmas gifts to Chihuahuita, greeting children with hugs, smiles spread on their faces.

Border Patrol has worked in this neighborhood’s backyard for decades.

As politics change around the border over the past twenty six years, this tradition remains strong.

Border Patrol Santa sat and called out the names of one hundred and sixteen children.

Each one had a gift, bought and wrapped by a Border Patrol employee especially for that child.

Some kids could not wait to open their presents.

It’s with these gifts that Border Patrol says the community ties between Chihuahuita and the Border Patrol agency are solidified and helps them work together every single year

“It makes us feel important. It makes us feel that they take everybody here in this community into consideration,” said Marissa Sanchez, a Chihuahuita neighbor.

“These communities are the same communities that our families are in. Our kids go to the same schools, they go to the same churches, and these communities are an integral part of who we are, just as we are part of what they are,” said Agent Joe Romero of the Border Patrol.

Border Patrol employees prepare a month in advance. Started by City Representative Chalio Acosta and former Border Patrol Sector Chief Silvestre Reyes in 1992, the tradition is now carried on by agents choosing to take part

“Our agents have been recipients throughout our whole lives just like other community members, we’ve all been the recipients of goodwill. Even now, we’ve got community members that show good will toward us, and it’s important that we show that same good will back toward our community,” Romero said.

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