Dam Releases, Rain Increase Danger of Illegal Border Crossings in Texas

American Canal in El Paso
File Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Release of water into the Rio Grande from dams and increased rain is increasing the danger to migrants attempting to cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into Texas. Local officials, immigrant advocates, and U.S. Border Patrol officials all warn of the increased danger.

Officials released water from the Elephant Butte Lake dam on Friday raising concerns of possible drownings of migrants attempting to cross the Rio Grande near El Paso, Texas. El Paso Fire Department officials warned that people can “drown in as little as two inches of water, and become brain-dead in five,” KVIA ABC7 reported.

U.S. Border Patrol El Paso Sector spokesman Fidel Baca explained the danger. “There are actually three levels of currents, and they’re moving at a really high rate of speed,” Baca explained. “The reason being, because it’s meant to be self-cleaning.”

Fire department officials warned that the currents pull people to the center of the river where the fastest currents are located. They said the current will pull you under. The faster the current, the more difficult it becomes for water rescue teams and Border Patrol agents to conduct successful rescue operations, the local ABC affiliate reported.

Baca explained that the increased current from the dam release also impacts the American Canal. “For the El Paso Sector, that’s going to be the most dangerous part.”

Baca said that in Fiscal Year 2018, the sector had 14 water rescues and four people drowned. Two of those drownings occurred in July when El Paso Fire Department officials recovered the bodies of two migrant teenagers, Breitbart News reported.

Officials identified one of the deceased as a 14-year-old girl from Guatemala. She is reported to be the twin sister of another young girl found in Juarez, Mexico Tuesday morning. The surviving twin told officials her sister joined up with a group attempting to cross the Rio Grande to enter Texas illegally, the El Paso Times reported.

Emergency crews rescued three other people from her group. Later that day, El Paso first responders returned to the river after another reported crossing went bad. Officials discovered the body of a woman believed to be in her early 20s, NBC 9 in El Paso reported. A short time later, rescue teams discovered another body. They determined the body to be that of a teenage boy missing from earlier in the day.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for the Breitbart Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.


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