Baby among four people to drown crossing Rio Grande into Texas

A baby was among the four people who drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande into the United States over the holiday weekend, law enforcement authorities said.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the department’s tactical marine unit recovered a group of four people from the river on Saturday, including woman and a baby girl who were unresponsive to medical interventions and were pronounced dead at a hospital. The other two people were turned over to the custody of the US Border Patrol.

US law enforcement also found the body of a man in the river on Sunday and the body of a woman in the river on Monday. The identities of the four people who died are not yet known; they were not travelling with identification documents.

Crossing the US-Mexico border has become an increasingly dangerous venture for migrants as the US has increasingly militarised its border over the last several decades. In 2022, nearly 900 people died crossing the border. The bodies of the four people found dead over the weekend were reportedly recovered in the same region where nine migrants died while attempting to cross the river in September of last year.

This is also a particularly dangerous time for some to attempt a border crossing because of the extreme heat Texas and parts of Mexico are enduring. Parts of Texas suffered from record heat in June, with temperatures in Eagle Pass, Texas still hovering around triple digits.

While hundreds of people continue to die at the border each year, the Texas state legislature saw fit to allocate $5bn for border security measures during the recently-concluded legislative session. Further militarisation of the border has been a priority for right-wing Gov Greg Abbott, whose administration has launched a new iniative to put floating barriers at “hotspots” in the Rio Grande to make the river more difficult to cross.

The Rio Grande and areas around it are considered sacred sites by Indigenous peoples native to Texas and New Mexico.

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