A 9-year-old girl whose family heeded the mixed messages of the Biden administration and sought to cross the Rio Grande illegally was found dead more than a week ago.
News of her death — the first of a child that’s been reported amid the Biden-era surge of unaccompanied children who have swamped border facilities — was released Saturday.
The girl was found by Border Patrol agents responding to a rescue call on an island in the Rio Grande, according to The New York Times.
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Her mother and one other child were also on the island. The mother and the three-year-old boy were revived, authorities said.
The girl, whose name was not released, was sent to Eagle Pass, Texas, but was pronounced dead, according to a statement from Customs and Border Protection.
The CBP statement did not list a cause of death.
“It was considered a drowning,” said Lt. Jason Mares of the Eagle Pass Fire Department, according to NBC.
Where is CNN & rest of media?
Mexican girl, 9, drowns trying to cross Rio Grande to enter US -days after 2 other migrants died in same river amid Biden’s escalating border crisis-Mother & 3-yr-old boy revived-9-yr-old girl pronounced dead- https://t.co/Vy33I0TOzH
— Blanche Victoria (@tammytabby) March 27, 2021
The woman who was rescued is Guatemalan. Both children are Mexican nationals, according to NBC.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of this small child,” Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Austin Skero said in a statement, according to KTRK-TV. “During these hard times our agents remain resilient, and I am extremely proud of their efforts to preserve human life.”
Skero’s statement said that since this federal fiscal year began Oct. 1, about 500 illegal immigrants have been rescued. Eighty-two have died in that time frame, according to The Times, which looked at CBP figures.
In 2019, a man and his 23-month-old daughter from El Salvador died while attempting to cross the river near Matamoros, Mexico. A picture of their bodies received widespread media attention at the time, and the incident was used as a condemnation of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) March 27, 2021
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The Thursday release noted that 70 unaccompanied children were among 402 illegal immigrants detained on Wednesday and Thursday.
The perception that the border is open is fueling illegal immigration.
“The mixed messaging is creating this mess,” said Jaime Diez, an immigration lawyer in Brownsville, Texas, according to The Times.
Human traffickers, known as “coyotes,” use that mixed messaging to lure migrants, he said.
“The coyotes know, and will say, ‘everyone gets in.’ So people come,” he said.
Elisabet Arreada Lopez told The Times she and her daughters took inner tubes across the Rio Grande after leaving their native Guatemala behind.
“People back home were saying this is the moment to cross,” she said in a Brownville bus station after she had been processed.
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