Old Brid.tv (sticky) – A Honduran Asylum-Seeking Teen Nearly Drowned In The Rio Grande
In June, 25-year-old Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-year-old daughter Angie Valeria drowned in the Rio Grande trying to reach the U.S. to seek asylum. The horrific image of their lifeless bodies, face down, in the water, was published everywhere. Some said the image represented the immigration crisis, others said their death was the result of President Donald Trump’s anti-asylum agenda. The truth is both of those aspects, but the fact remains that countless people have died trying to cross through the Rio Grande, and some just don’t make it. Some, however, fortunately, survive.
A 17-year-old girl Honduran asylum-seeker was swept into the Rio Grande and nearly drowned.
According to BuzzFeed, the young girl named Breni entered the river with a friend in order to bathe. However, both girls were taken in by the current. Her friend, a 14-year-old, sadly didn’t make it and drowned in the river.
“They couldn’t get to me and the water sucked me in,” Breni said in an interview with BuzzFeed News. “All I could see was water before I went under and then everything went black.”
Thankfully, the girl was rescued by fellow migrants who eventually were able to pull her out of the waters.
Her father, who was nearby, saw that she was being pulled out and believed her daughter was dead. According to the report, others did as well because her rescuers did chest compressions. Breni was taken to the hospital and it was there that she finally woke up. BuzzFeed News reports that Breni and her father are living on the streets of Matamoros, Mexico awaiting their U.S. asylum hearing. They did not disclose why they had fled their country of Honduras. The father added that he feels the hospital released his daughter too soon.
“It’s tough because I want my daughter to be okay and I know they didn’t give her the attention she deserved,” Breni’s dad said. “I wish we didn’t have to bathe in the river, but we do it out of necessity. We don’t have much here.”
The number of migrants deaths at the border is unclear, though as of June there have been more than 283 deaths.
According to the Associated Press, “283 migrant deaths were recorded along the 2,000-mile border last year. The death toll so far this year was not immediately released.” Many of those deaths occurred when people were trying to cross the Rio Grande. Several deaths were recorded this summer, and earlier this year in May, a raft that overturned killed four people, including a baby.
“The Rio Grande Valley Sector currently has multiple campaigns focused on rescues and danger awareness, such as ‘Operation Big Rig’ and ‘No Se Arriesgue’ to combat smuggling and ultimately save lives,” Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in the release, in June, according to CNN.
The Rio Grande stretches 1,885 miles and is used by migrants to cross into the U.S.
While the CBP claims to have agents to help migrants at the Rio Grande Valley, other information express the contrary. The Associated Press reports that Border Patrol spokesman Ramiro Cordero said in June that “that in past years, agents would be posted near canals and hear the cries of help from migrants. But they are doing other duties this year with so many immigrants showing up, some in poor health. ‘Unfortunately, because of the large influx of illegal aliens and agents having to be diverted to other duties, such as transporting, hospital escorts … there are not a lot of agents readily available to hear these cries.'”
As of August, there are an estimated 58,000 asylum seekers that are stuck in Mexico under Trump’s policy because they’re awaiting asylum hearings.
The New York Times is reporting that 58,000 asylum seekers remain around Mexico’s border, in various cities, as they await their hearing. The backlog for these asylum hearings is up to six to eight months. The reason why the asylum seekers remain close to the border is that they’re unsure of when they will be called for their court hearing. According to the Mother Jones article, they can sometimes be told to appear within hours.
On Sept. 9, federal courts “reinstated a nationwide injunction blocking a Trump administration asylum ban that denied asylum to anyone at the southern border who had transited through a third country en route to the United States,” the American Civil Liberties report after they filed a lawsuit against Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy. ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt stated, “The court recognized there is grave danger facing asylum-seekers along the entire stretch of the southern border.”