Border Patrol officials are pleading with immigrants not to attempt the perilous journey to the US after nine migrants recently drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande, according to a report.
Chief Patrol Agent Jason Owens of the Del Rio Sector issued a “warning of extreme importance” on Saturday about rising waters and dangerous currents.
“The currents of the Rio Grande have become more dangerous due to recent and continuing rainfall and more rain is forecasted for the coming week,” Owens said in a statement reported by Fox News.
“Despite these adverse conditions, U.S. Border Patrol, Del Rio Sector continues to encounter more than 100+, 200+ attempting to cross the Rio Grande daily,” it said.
Owens said at least nine people have died over the past several days trying to cross the border, and “in an effort to prevent further loss of life, we are asking everyone to please avoid crossing illegally.”
Officials in the US and Mexico continue to search for bodies along the Rio Grande after nine migrants died in the rain-swollen river last week.
The river, which usually runs about 3-feet-deep, surged to 5-feet-deep on Thursday because of heavy rains in the area and caused the water to run five times faster than normal.
Six bodies were recovered by US border officials while Mexican officials recovered three near Eagle Pass, Texas – one of the deadliest drownings at the border in recent history.
US agents rescued 37 people from the flooded waterway and detained another 16.
Mexican officials took 39 migrants into custody.
As the Biden administration struggles to handle the immigration crisis, the Del Rio Sector has become the busiest corridor for illegal crossings.
Migrants were stopped nearly 50,000 times in the sector in July.
The Rio Grande Valley came in second with about 35,000 apprehensions.
The area has become attractive to migrants in the past few years because it is not controlled as heavily by the cartels, creating the perception that it might not be as dangerous as some others.
“It might be a different price. It might be seen as safer. It might keep you out of cities that are notoriously dangerous,” Stephanie Leutert, director of Central America and Mexico Policy Initiative at the University of Texas’ Center for International Security and Law, told the Associated Press.
“Those cities (in the Del Rio sector) definitely have had a reputation as being safer than say, Nueva Laredo,” she said.
Migrants from a number of countries – including Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua – have been drawn to the area.
“There are places when the water levels are down where you could wade across, but when the river is up it’s extremely dangerous, especially if you’re carrying kids or trying to help someone who is not a strong swimmer,” Leutert told the wire service.
The year is on track to break last year’s record for the most deaths on the US-Mexico border since 2014, when the UN’s International Organization for Migration began keeping records.
Most migrants die from dehydration or drowning, according to the organization.
With Post Wires
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