As migrants continue arriving at the Texas-Mexico border, drownings have spiked in recent weeks, with nine people dying in El Paso-area canals this month alone. Border Patrol and soldiers have rescued others.
As the wrenching photo of a Salvadoran father and daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande continues to spark national debate about U.S. immigration policy, the death toll of migrants trying to illegally cross the border has been quietly rising in recent weeks.
On Wednesday, U.S. Border Patrol agents discovered the body of a 19-year-old Mexican citizen in an El Paso-area canal. A sheriff’s spokeswoman told the El Paso Times that Natividad Quinto Crisostomo, from Paracho, Michoacan, was found in the Riverside Canal — which in some places runs parallel to the Rio Grande — near Clint.
Crisostomo is the ninth person to drown in an El Paso-area canal this month. The June total has nearly matched the 11 canal drownings recorded by local rescue teams in all of 2018.
The deaths come amid a surge of migrants — mainly families from Central America — arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, where U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are requiring migrants to wait in Mexico for weeks or months before allowing them to cross the border and claim asylum. Critics say the practice, known as “metering,” pushes many asylum seekers to illegally cross the border between ports of entry.
During Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate, Former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro blamed metering for the drowning deaths of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria, from El Salvador. A photograph of their entwined bodies floating at the edge of the Rio Grande near Matamoros, Mexico on Wednesday has galvanized national attention on the dangers that migrants face trying to enter the U.S.
Further upriver in Mission, the bodies of a woman and three children were foundSunday in Anzalduas Park, which hugs a curve of the Rio Grande. Officials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it appeared the woman, two infants and a toddler died from dehydration and heat exposure.
Their deaths are part of a recent spike in migrants’ deaths along the Texas-Mexico border, according to the Missing Migrants Project, which tracks migrant disappearances and deaths. The group has recorded 29 deaths so far this month on the Texas side of the Rio Grande — the highest monthly total since 59 deaths were recorded last August. Ramirez and his daughter aren’t counted in that total because their bodies were discovered on the Mexico side of the river.
Overall, the group has recorded 61 deaths along the Texas-Mexico border so far this year, compared with 89 during the first six months last year and 49 over the same period in 2017. According to the group, 207 migrants died on the Texas-Mexico border in 2018, and 190 died in 2017.
In the El Paso area, the deaths include a man and a preschool-age girl whose bodies were found in the city’s Lower Valley, two bodies found on different days in a canal in Socorro, three men found in a water tunnel near Ascarate Park and the body of a man found in the Upper Valley, according to the El Paso Times. Officials did not release their names or nationalities or reveal whether they were migrants who had crossed the border.
Earlier this week, a Guatemalan woman and her child nearly drowned in a canal near downtown El Paso, the newspaper reported, but they were rescued by two U.S. Army soldiers who are part of a team assisting law enforcement agents on the southwest border. While one soldier jumped into the water, another used his shirt as a lifeline, officials told the Times.
Another family was saved in Eagle Pass on Tuesday when Border Patrol agents pulled an unconscious 13-year-old boy and his parents, all from Honduras, from the river. Two agents performed CPR on the teen, who eventually coughed up water and regained consciousness.
“Words cannot express my gratitude nor convey the sense of pride I have for these agents,” Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz told the Eagle Pass News Leader. “Without a doubt, their quick life-saving actions brought this young man back from the brink of death.”
Right-wing activist David Koch dead at 79: report
David Koch, the billionaire industrialist and conservative activist, has reportedly died.
Sources close to the family confirmed the 79-year-old Koch, who retired from the privately owned Koch Industries last year, passed away, according to New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer.
Koch took over as president of Koch Engineering in 1979, and became co-owner of Koch Industries four years later with his older brother, Charles Koch.
He was ranked the 11th-wealthiest person in the world upon his retirement, with an estimated net worth of $51 billion, and both he and his brother donated much of their fortune to conservative political candidates and causes.
Trump campaign official bizarrely compares president to Mother Teresa: ‘Who has done more for women?’
A former "Apprentice" contestant-turned-Iowa campaign official compared President Donald Trump to Mother Teresa.
Tana Goertz, the key primary state's Trump Team coordinator, claimed the president had done more for women than possibly anyone else in history than the sainted Calcutta nun, reported CBS News.
"There's not a person alive that literally has done so much for a female, for the female population," Goertz said. "I can't think of one person that I could go, except for Mother Teresa. I mean, literally, who has done more for women in office than Donald Trump?"
Goertz, a contestant on the third season of Trump's NBC reality show, said the president would boost the election chances of other Republicans running in next year's election, after last year's midterm losses for the GOP.
Putin vows ‘symmetric response’ to US missile test
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday he has ordered the military to prepare a "symmetric response" after Washington tested a formerly banned missile.
Putin said he had ordered an analysis of "the level of threat for our country created by the actions of the US and to take comprehensive measures to prepare a symmetric response".
The US Department of Defense said Monday it had tested a type of ground-launched missile that was banned under the 1987 INF agreement, which limited the use of nuclear and conventional medium-range weapons.
Moscow and Washington ripped up the pact early this month after several months of accusing one another of breaching its conditions.