The body of a small child was recovered Thursday by border police officers in the Rio Grande, while his brother, who was also swept by river currents, remains missing, authorities said.
The incident began on May 2 when officers met a man and woman from Angola who had illegally crossed the Rio Grande, about a mile west of the Del Rio International Bridge along the US-Mexico border. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said:†
The couple told officers their two sons, ages 7 and 9, were swept away by strong river currents as they attempted to cross the US, according to the CBP.
A Del Rio Station Boat Patrol unit was deployed to the area to locate the children, and the Del Rio Sector’s Foreign Operations Division contacted its law enforcement colleagues in Mexico for coordinated assistance, the CBP added.
The parents were taken into custody and treated by agents of the border police, according to the Dutch DPA.
Three days later, Mexican authorities found the body of a child matching the family’s description near the riverbank on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, the CBP said. The body of an adult man was also found nearby.
The other son of the family has not yet been found.
The fatal discovery underscores the increasing danger of crossing water along the Rio Grande, which forms a natural border between the US and Mexico.
Just two weeks ago, a Texas National Guardsman Missing after attempting to rescue two migrants who appeared to have drowned when they crossed the Rio Grande at Eagle Pass, Texas, about 60 miles south of the Del Rio International Bridge.
The body of the guard, 22-year-old Bishop Evans, was found several days later. He was not authorized to enter the water, but “acted selflessly” to save the migrants, officials said. The migrants, who survived, are suspected of being “involved in illegal transnational drug trafficking” and have been taken into custody by the Dutch DPA.
While most deaths from migrants are at the border: related to heat exposurewater-related deaths and rescues have increased dramatically in the Del Rio sector in recent years. Water-related deaths there tripled from fiscal 2018 to 2019, and water rescues were up more than 1000%, according to CBP data. In 2019 the image of a Salvadoran father and his two-year-old daughter lying face down in the waters of the Rio Grande sparked international outrage.
Separately, the origins of the migrant family in Angola are part of a large increase in migrants coming to the southern border from outside North and Central America.
On its website is the CBP broadly separates the demographic origin of migrants in five categories: Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and “Other”. From this point in fiscal year 2021 to 2022, CBP’s meetings with citizens of “Other” countries on the southwestern land border skyrocketed from about 64,000 to 377,000, an increase of nearly 500%. show the data:† Meetings with citizens of Mexico increased compared to just 43%, the data shows.
The “Other” group includes: large numbers of migrants from Colombia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba and Haiti, as well as smaller groups of migrants from Ukraine and Russia.
In September, tens of thousands of migrants, most of them Haitian, gathered in a makeshift encampment in Del Rio. And in December, CNN reported on a wave of migrants mainly consisting of middle-class families from South Americaunderlining the economic and political instability in much of Latin America.
Since March 2020, the Dutch DPA has maintained a public health order known as title 42, which will allow US authorities to quickly expel migrants at US land borders. Under Title 42, authorities have expelled migrants on the US-Mexico border more than 1.8 million times in just over two years. according to CBP data†
US Customs and Border Protection said the number of arrests along the border rose in March, when there were more than 220,000 encounters with migrants. To some extent, migration is seasonal and the number of people attempting to cross the border increases in the spring.