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.

    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

    Saudi Arabia’s New Female Politicians in the Other Room 

    Many in Saudi Arabia say elected representatives should share unsegregated spaces; according to a recent survey, more than half the Saudi population, both men and women, prefer to work in a segregated place

    Russia Not ‘Apologetic’ for Syria Airstrikes

    With Moscow criticized for targeting armed opponents of President Assad, Russia’s UN envoy says his country ‘acting in a very transparent manner’

    Pakistan Warns of Islamic State's Growing Reach

    Aftab Sultan, General Director General of Intelligence Bureau (IB), briefed Senate Committee in closed hearing, saying that IS-linked groups have been expanding in Pakistan

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.