Border agents save migrants drowning at border


CBP Air and Marine and Border Patrol agents airlift an injured migrant. Courtesy of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

(NewsNation) — Border agents in El Paso worked swiftly to treat two migrants who were swept away in a fast-moving canal while trying to cross the U.S. border from Mexico.

A Border Patrol agent had to cling to a ladder on the side of the canal and throw the migrants a flotation device. Had the agent not acted, the migrants likely would have drowned.

This is an issue seen all along the border in Texas. In Eagle Pass, migrants routinely cross the Rio Grande River where the current is deceptively strong.

Sources tell NewsNation there have been four drownings along that sector this month alone, including an infant who was swept away.

“Do not cross the river because it might endanger yourself or loved ones,” said Sgt. Juan Maldonado of the Texas Department of Safety.

Texas DPS has been working closely with Mexican authorities to secure the border on both sides, partly in an attempt to stop the drownings.

The journey for these migrants to the United States is notoriously dangerous. The International Organization for Migration, a part of the United Nations, found at least 650 migrants died trying to cross into the United States last year.

Evaluating harsh economic realities in many Central and South American countries has been a point of emphasis for the U.S., which is why Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was in Honduras this week.

The hope is that if the situation can be improved, migrants will be less desperate to make the journey. Border experts also point to the fact there is a belief among many migrants that the U.S.-Mexico border is open.

Those same experts say that narrative has to be changed.

“You diminish hope from crossing, but raise hope in other places,” said Victor Manjarez of the University of Texas-El Paso.

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