US & World

As more people cross the border, U.S. groups are trying to stop death

Falfurrias, Texas (AP) — Weekly, immigrant rights activist Eduardo Canales fills a blue water drum across Texas ranches and the vast valley of Brush. They are for migrants who set foot on rugged terrain to avoid being captured and sent back to Mexico.

Land 70 miles (113 km) north of the US-Mexico border is dangerous and many have died. However, some immigrants (usually single adults) walk through the grasslands invaded by vast ranch shrubs and avoid the US Border Guard checkpoints on major highways where agents check people’s immigration status. Willing to take risks in search of dirt roads.

“People die here. People get lost. People are never asked again. They go missing,” said Canales, director of the South Texas Human Rights Center.

The Biden administration is addressing an increase in single adult migrants across national borders. They accounted for almost two of the three encounters in April. This elusive group is less likely to surrender to U.S. authorities to seek asylum than family and children, and is dangerous away from border crossings and ingestion sites where agents travel alone to families and children. Often you choose a route.

Of a total of 173,460 encounters with border guard migrants last month, 108,301 were single adults, more than half of whom were Mexicans. The numbers were the highest since April 2000, but most of them were rapidly expelled from the country last year under federal pandemic-related powers launched by then-President Donald Trump and maintained by then-President Joe Biden. it was done.

Unlike deportation, deportation has no legal consequences and many migrants try to cross over and over again. According to border guards, 29% of those exiled in April have been exiled before.

In Brooks County, Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor of illegal crossings, local authorities have recovered 40 migrants so far this year. In all of 2020, they found 34 bodies, but the coronavirus pandemic has significantly reduced the number of people coming to the United States.

Border guards have their own statistics, but they only count the wreckage of migrants they come across, so they tend to be lower than those tracked by aid groups and local authorities.

Officials this year have documented the rotting body of a woman in Honduras, proving that she is a fruit packer at the banana company Chiquita and a Mexican man who appears to have worked in a factory. discovered. From time to time, sheriff agents find only skeletal debris.

Brooks County Sheriff Patrol Deputy Roberto Castanon said he believes this year is particularly busy for migrants escaping capture in this dangerous area.

Agents try to count the number of people avoiding arrest, which is difficult to do in the Rio Grande Valley. Its often thick brushes traditionally didn’t have many sensors. The most reliable way for border guards to count the number of people fleeing relies on observing small human traces, such as dusty footprints, spider web tears, broken twigs, and falling pebbles.

According to Castanon, border guards had stronger enforcement around highway crossings, but helped increase families and children to cross Rio Grande and surrender to agents to claim asylum. Seems to have been deployed for. Border guards did not immediately answer questions about staffing changes.

“I think people were using it,” Castanon said.

But it’s not that simple. Smugglers can walk 15-50 miles (24-80 km) long distances in this dangerous area, leaving migrants, and temperatures can exceed 100 degrees Celsius (38 degrees Celsius). Some migrants were able to make an emergency call to the relief group. Aid groups work with local officials and border guards to help.

This month, a woman near Van Horn, Texas, felt dying due to water shortages, but was able to call a help group tied to Canales who warned authorities. They were able to find her by tracing the coordinates to the phone.

“Some people are unsuccessful. They die from lack of water, food and health, collapse and stay there until someone trips over their bodies, and it calls us to pick them up. It’s time, “said Deputy Officer Castanon.

Canales aid groups and others have worked to build trust with the rancher’s community and provide access to parts of the land along the northern trails of the border.

“People have a humanitarian nature in them. They may have a very conservative politics, but they don’t want to see people die,” Canales said. ..

Proponents compared ranch-filled areas to the Arizona desert, where migrant deaths have long been a problem. Record heat and dry weather last summer in Arizona were the main cause behind the deaths of 227 people counted by immigration groups and were the highest in 10 years.

Local authorities are hoping to find more bodies as summer approaches, temperatures rise, and expulsions continue.

“We are coming in with a large group of volunteers to build more water stations,” Canales said. “Many people are dying and we need to understand that.”

As more people cross the border, U.S. groups are trying to stop death

Source link As more people cross the border, U.S. groups are trying to stop death

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