News / USA

Illegal Immigrants Face Danger in Hot Texas Border Region

Illegal Immigrants Face Danger in Hot Texas Border Regioni
X
August 07, 2014 2:04 AM
Over the last 16 years, according to U.S. government records, more than 6,000 people have died after crossing the U.S. border illegally from Mexico and finding themselves in a dangerous environment. Yet illegal immigrants, mostly from Central America, continue to cross the border in south Texas where temperatures are soaring. VOA's Greg Flakus has more from Houston.
Greg Flakus

Over the last 16 years, according to U.S. government records, more than 6,000 people have died after crossing the U.S. border illegally from Mexico and finding themselves in a dangerous environment. Yet illegal immigrants, mostly from Central America, continue to cross the border in south Texas, where temperatures are soaring.

In south Texas, the Rio Grande river that marks the border with Mexico is fairly easy to cross.

But once across, the undocumented immigrants find little water, heavy brush and many small creatures with nasty bites.

U.S. Border Patrol agent Jason Owens said smugglers often leave people on their own here.

"The guides that bring them across, if they can't keep up, they leave them behind; they walk around lost… no water, no idea where they are supposed to go, no form of communication. This close to the river a lot of people can find themselves in trouble and die," said Owens.

Owens said the human smugglers are part of a Mexican criminal world that includes drug trafficking cartels responsible for killing thousands of people.

"Among the smuggling groups you see infighting with the cartels, the cartel fighting with the Mexican authorities, who are doing their best over there to get control of the situation and then they come over here and a lot of time you have the same thing," continued Owens.

Hundreds of unidentified bodies have been discovered in south Texas. Many of them were dug out of the ground by a volunteer forensic team from Baylor University.

Those who come from Central America are fleeing drug gang violence and poverty in countries like Honduras.

On the long journey through Mexico, many are robbed and abused, including children who travel alone.

Border Patrol spokesman Peter Bidegain said that once they cross, the child immigrants often seek the protection of the agents and confide in them.

"A lot of times when you ask them about their journey, they start to cry.  It is very emotional; it is emotional for the agents, it's emotional for the kids," said Bidegain.

Tony Payan, who heads the Mexico Center at Rice University's Baker Institute, said child smugglers face little danger of being caught.

"What these guys do is take the child to the US/Mexico border and then they push them across the river without having to cross themselves, so they are not exposing themselves to being arrested and detained," said Payan.

As long as many people are able to make it across the border and stay, experts say people in Central America will continue to pay smugglers thousands of dollars per person.

Despite the dangers, Payan said what many immigrants face at home is worse.

"Enormous, very deep poverty in Central America, and hopelessness and when people are hopeless they are going to move.  It has been the history of mankind," said Payan.

In Texas, Border Patrol agents continue to lookout for drug smugglers and for those who cross the border illegally and risk their lives in a harsh environment.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs