One more drama on the American border. A 9-year-old child has died trying to enter the United States by crossing the Rio Grande, US authorities have said. The emergency services took care of three people found unconscious on an island in the middle of the river on Saturday. They were a Guatemalan woman, her 3-year-old Mexican child, and another 9-year-old child. The latter could not be revived.
This tragedy comes as the United States faces a sharp increase in arrivals at the border: more than 100,000 irregular migrants were arrested in February at the southern border, including nearly 20,000 family members and 10,000 unaccompanied minors. Flows increased further in March, with an average of 5,000 arrivals per day.
A “call for air” criticized by Republicans
Health rules enacted at the start of the pandemic allow the United States to immediately turn back all isolated adults, as well as families. But the country is finding it increasingly difficult to send families back to Mexico, especially when they have young children (under 7). As for minors arriving alone, they are placed in border guards’ premises, before being transferred to more suitable reception structures while waiting to locate members of their family or guardians to whom they can be entrusted.
Accused by the Republicans of having created a “call for air” at the border, President Joe Biden on Thursday put the situation into perspective and defended his policies. “It is inhuman what is happening,” retorted Republican Senator Ted Cruz on Friday, after visiting a detention center in Donna, in his state of Texas.