Saturday, October 8, 2022

Fatalities reported as migrants cross US-Mexico border

Fatalities have been reported as migrants tried to cross the US-Mexico border in some sections in Texas, authorities said.

At least eight migrants were found dead on Thursday when trying to cross Rio Grande, the border river between Mexico and Texas, Xinhua news agency quoted the authorities as saying on Friday.

US Border Patrol agents recovered six bodies, while Mexican teams recovered two others, said the statement.

As many as 37 others have been rescued from the river near Eagle Pass of Texas, according to a statement from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

During the operation, US crews detained 16 more while Mexican officials took 39 migrants into custody.

Days of heavy rain in the region had resulted in swift currents in the Rio Grande, local media reported.

The fast changing currents are especially danger to young children.

A five-year-old Guatemalan girl drowned on Monday after she got separated from her mother while the two attempted to wade across the Rio Grande to El Paso in western Texas, said a report by local media outlet KXAN.

A three-year-old boy was found dead in the river last week in Maverick County in Texas, said the county’s sheriff Tom Schmerber.

Many other fatalities are also attributed to extreme heat or cold, falls from hills or border walls, and motor vehicle accidents, said the KXAN report.

In June, 53 migrants were found dead inside an abandoned 18-wheeler in San Antonio, a major city in Texas, becoming one of the deadliest migrant-smuggling operations in recent US history.

In August, at least four migrants turned up dead in Maverick County, according to Schmerber.

Latest government data show that in the Del Rio sector of the Border Patrol, which extends 395 km along the Rio Grande including Eagle Pass, US officials have discovered bodies of more than 200 migrants from October through July.

And in the Border Patrol’s El Paso sector, migrant deaths are on track to double compared to last year, according to the KXAN report.

The Border Patrol has carried out 443 migrant rescues in the El Paso sector this fiscal year, with a toll of 63 fatalities, compared with the 688 rescues and 39 deaths in the region last year, said the report.

Schmerber told CNN last month that he finds bodies of migrants almost every day, predicting 2022 could be the deadliest year yet for migrants crossing the southern US border.

The number of migrants attempting to cross has been on the rise, and the increase in arrivals is leading to more deaths, said Schmerber.