EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Thirty-seven migrants have died and 229 suffered injuries falling from the border wall in the El Paso Sector since October 1, a federal agency reported.
Such falls, drownings and heat-related tragedies have prompted U.S. Border Patrol Sector Chief Gloria I. Chavez and Mexican Consul General Mauricio Ibarra Ponce de Leon to record a video in Spanish urging migrants not to risk their lives by attempting a dangerous crossing.
At least 10 people have drowned in El Paso irrigation canals in the past two weeks and a man died after falling from the border wall in nearby Sunland Park, New Mexico last week.
“Our border has multiple challenges, such as water canals that are dangerous even to seasoned swimmers, and hostile deserts where migrants can suffer heat stroke and dehydration,” Ibarra said.
The consul accuses smugglers of pushing migrants over 18- to 30-foot-tall border wall or else leaving them stuck at the top of the steel bollards. These circumstances have led to migrants, including pregnant women, falling to the U.S. side and injuring their legs, back and neck, Ibarra and Chavez said.
“Transnational criminal organizations continue to risk the lives of migrants, exposing them to dangerous conditions and ruthlessly abandoning them. … TCOs are only interested in money,” Chavez said.
Migrant smuggling is a multi-billion dollar business in Latin America and has led to a historic streak of monthly increases in migrant encounters at the Southwest border. In May, border agents and port-of-entry officers came across 239,416 foreign nationals who lacked proper documentation to be in the United States.
Border agents and various sheriffs in counties bordering Mexico in Texas and Arizona say few migrants come across without the aid of transnational criminal organizations, which sometimes end up kidnapping them to get additional money from their relatives.
In the video, Ibarra urges would-be migrants to think about the risks of suffering crippling injuries that will affect their ability to provide for their families.
“(The smugglers) will promise a safe passage through the border, but the reality is much different,” Ibarra said. “Your family is waiting for you at home. Think about them, think about you. Is it worth it to risk your life?”
The video will be distributed on social media and international news organizations.