Dozens of migrants arrived at the US-Mexico border Friday hoping to be allowed into the United States, with US border forces reporting 1.8 million encounters with migrants in the last 12 months.
In Eagle Pass, Texas, migrants from countries including Honduras and Venezuela crossed the Rio Grande River that separates the United States and Mexico to encounter an almost impassable wall of barbed wire preventing them from entering US territory.
“I’m happy because I’m one step away… but I’m sad because we can’t get through,” said Noe Zelaya, a Honduran who had traveled to the border with his wife and two children, aged 12 and 5.
“They can’t get through,” said one of the border guards, as Zelaya’s wife, Belkys Cruz, pleaded for help and the couple’s son cried and asked to go home.
“We couldn’t take the maras anymore,” said Zelaya, who worked as a mechanic in the Honduran city of San Pedro Sula, referring to organized crime in his country. “That’s why we fled.”
“We are desperate,” said Cruz, as her husband tried to move the sand from under the barbed wire to dig a hole.
The family crossed the river with water up to their chests, as did a couple of Venezuelans who arrived just as the sun was beating down on Eagle Pass.
“I feel sad because I thought it would be easier getting here,” said Juan Diaz, 28, who identified himself as a Venezuelan military deserter fleeing from his country’s political and economic crisis.
“But my dream is to get here, so I’m going to fight,” he added.
Diaz continued upriver until he found an opening in the dense jungle of wires. When he crossed, he handed himself over to the border authorities stationed a few yards (meters) away.
Thousands of people have arrived in recent days at various border points in Texas with few belongings, fleeing political regimes or in search of economic opportunities.
In August, the United States reported 232,972 migrants reached its southern land border, an increase in recent months.
The migration issue is one that divides US society. President Joe Biden has tried to discourage the flow of migrants by announcing new asylum and visas processing systems in countries of origin.
With tensions rising in the southern conservative state, Alejandro Mayorkas, US secretary of homeland security, is scheduled to meet Honduran President Xiomara Castro in the Texan border city of McAllen on Saturday to discuss immigration cooperation.