2 Our bodies Present in Rio Grande, One Close to Texas’ Floating Barrier

Folks making an attempt to cross into the U.S. from Mexico are blocked by a big floating barrier on the Rio Grande Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023, in Eagle Cross, Texas. (AP Picture/Eric Homosexual)

By María Verza and Valerie González

Mexico’s Overseas Relations Division first reported {that a} physique was discovered alongside the buoys between Eagle Cross and Piedras Negras, Mexico, on Wednesday night, and instantly linked it to the dangers Mexico had warned of earlier than the barrier was put in. Hours later it mentioned one other physique had been discovered 3 miles (5 kilometers) upstream in an space the place there aren’t any buoys.

Each our bodies had been recovered by Mexican authorities, and the Coahuila state prosecutor’s workplace was working to determine them and decide the reason for loss of life.

Mexico mentioned the Texas Division of Public Security had suggested its consulate of the physique alongside the floating barrier. Texas mentioned it notified Mexico after receiving a report of a physique upriver from the barrier Wednesday. It was unclear if that was the physique that in the end ended up lodged towards the buoys.

“Preliminary data suggests this particular person drowned upstream from the marine barrier and floated into the buoys,” mentioned Steve McCraw, the DPS director. “There are personnel posted on the marine barrier always in case any migrants attempt to cross.”

U.S. Customs and Border Safety was requested by an e-mail and a cellphone name for touch upon the state of affairs, however had not responded.

Mexico and others have warned concerning the dangers posed by the brilliant orange, wrecking ball-sized buoys placed on the Rio Grande in an effort to make it harder for migrants to cross to the U.S. The Overseas Relations Division additionally contends the barrier violates treaties concerning the usage of the river and Mexico’s sovereignty.

“We made clear our concern concerning the affect on migrants’ security and human rights that these state insurance policies would have,” the division mentioned in its assertion Wednesday evening.

Andrew Mahaleris, spokesman for Abbott, mentioned in a press release Thursday that “the Mexican authorities is flat-out improper.” He mentioned preliminary data signifies the particular person drowned earlier than coming close to the boundaries.

He mentioned the Texas Division of Public Security beforehand reported to U.S. immigration brokers that there was a physique floating upstream from the boundaries within the Rio Grande.

Mahaleris mentioned Texas officers monitor the boundaries and haven’t noticed anybody making an attempt to cross since they had been put in. “Sadly, drownings within the Rio Grande by folks making an attempt to cross illegally are all too widespread,” he mentioned.

The barrier was put in in July, and stretches roughly the size of three soccer fields. It’s designed to make it harder for migrants to climb over or swim below the barrier.

The U.S. Justice Division is suing Abbott over the floating barrier. The lawsuit asks a court docket to power Texas to take away it. The Biden administration says the barrier raises humanitarian and environmental issues.

The buoys are the newest escalation of Texas’ border safety operation that additionally consists of putting in razor-wire fencing and arresting migrants on trespassing expenses.

Isabel Turcios, a nun who runs the Casa del Migrante shelter in Piedras Negras, mentioned migrants proceed crossing the river there though authorities put razor wire below the bridge connecting the 2 international locations and the buoy barrier somewhat farther downstream.

She mentioned they sometimes cross below the bridge the place the river is extra shallow after which stroll downstream to a gap within the razor wire. She mentioned she didn’t know if folks nonetheless tried to cross the place the buoys had been put in downriver.

“Tons of migrants are nonetheless arriving,” Turcios mentioned. “Final evening some 200 folks slept (on the shelter). This morning 50 extra have entered the shelter.”

She mentioned many migrants resolve to cross as a result of they really feel it takes too lengthy for U.S. authorities to course of functions to enter the U.S. legally.

She mentioned her shelter was receiving a variety of Venezuelans, in lots of instances moms with youngsters, who cease solely briefly to wash, relaxation after which attempt to cross the river.

González reported from McAllen, Texas. Related Press author Acacia Coronado in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.