U.S. border patrol agents pulled a dead man’s body from the Rio Grande separating the United States and Mexico on Thursday, Feb. 14, not far from a temporary shelter in Piedras Negras, Mexico which is housing some 2,000 migrants who are mostly from Central America.
It was not immediately clear if the man was staying at the shelter, but it appears he may have been trying to swim across the river to Texas before drowning.
In recent days, several small groups of migrants have attempted to cross the river to reach Eagle Pass, Texas on the other side.
Security has been tight on this stretch of the border with border patrol agents making their presence known as migrants wait to process paperwork at the temporary shelter on the Mexican side of the border.
Border Patrol Rescues Migrant Family
A Salvadoran family was rescued from the Rio Grande border river between Mexico and the United States late on Sunday night, before they were returned back south of the border, according to local reports.
According to local reports, the family of seven included two babies and two minors. They unsuccessfully tried to swim across the Rio Grande from Piedras Negras, Mexico to Eagle Pass, Texas, before they were rescued, and attended to by medics south of the border.
Security has been tight on this stretch of the border with border patrol agents making their presence known as some 2,000 Central American migrants wait to process paperwork at a temporary migrant shelter on the Mexican side of the border.
Many are seeking passage into the United States, but some who have permission to stay in Mexico are considering working locally.
President Donald Trump has hardened his stance on immigration, and specifically against the caravan of migrants. He has sought to suspend the granting of asylum to migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, seeking fresh ways to block thousands of Central Americans traveling in caravans from entering the United States.
He has also said any migrants seeking asylum will have to wait in Mexico whilst the claim is heard.
The Right to Protect Borders
Juan Andres Martinez grew up in Piedras Negras, but emigrated to Eagle Pass in 2000. Like many locals, it’s common to pop over to Mexico to visit family or go shopping. Martinez runs a martial arts academy in Eagle Pass, and with his brother, another one in Piedras Negras.
He said he has never seen anything like the caravan of 1,800, nor the U.S. or Mexican responses to it.
“If they want to come aggressively to the United States, it’s going to be hard for them. Here in Eagle Pass, we feel safe because we have a lot of security right now,” Martinez said. “There’s some entity or somebody out there that’s maybe giving them the idea that this border is much easier to cross when, in reality, it’s really not.”
Martinez suggests the caravan came to Piedras Negras because it has become too dangerous to go to Tijuana.
“I think [here] it’s safer from the cartels. That’s why they didn’t want to go through Tamaulipas—because of the cartels,” he said.
In Piedras Negras, it’s a Los Zetas cartel faction called Cartel del Noreste that operates, according to Robert Bunker, an instructor at the Safe Communities Institute, University of Southern California.
“They are in conflict with Zetas Vieja Escuela (Old School Zetas) who are a faction tied to a Gulf Cartel remnant,” Bunker said.
Martinez said he supports President Donald Trump’s efforts to secure the border.
“I support what he’s doing as far as stopping illegal immigration. Any state, any territory, any country has the right to protect its borders and only allow people in under the right circumstances,” he said. “We all have necessities. We all have needs. These people are coming here looking for a better way of life, but unfortunately, there’s laws that need to be followed.”
The Epoch Times reporter Charlotte Cuthbertson contributed to this report.