Child, man drowned within two days while crossing Rio Grande

‘We always have people that are drowning,’ Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas told KSAT

A look at the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023. (Daniela Ibarra, KSAT)

EAGLE PASS, Texas – A child and a man drowned while crossing the Rio Grande this week as the Texas-Mexico border encounters an influx of migrants.

Eagle Pass Mayor Rolando Salinas told KSAT 12 News that a 4-year-old died on Wednesday and an adult male died on Thursday. Their names and countries of origin have not been released.

“Unfortunately, that’s been pretty common in the last month, we always have people that are drowning,” Salinas said.

The child and man were among the thousands of migrants traveling to the U.S. in an attempt to seek asylum — many of whom are from Venezuela.

On Thursday, KSAT spoke with a migrant from Venezuela, who said he witnessed people drown and die during his month-long trek to the U.S.

The man, named Jimmy, said he fled his country due to the economic crisis. He hopes he can find a job making pizzas in Denver, Colorado, he said.

Watch his interview in the video below:

In a social media post, U.S. Customs and Border Protection stated that agents vetted and processed about 2,500 people Wednesday at several crossings in Eagle Pass.

Across the entire U.S.-Mexico border, CBP encounters approached 9,000 migrants on Wednesday.

In Eagle Pass alone, nearly 6,000 migrants crossed between Wednesday and Thursday, prompting the city to close one of the town’s two official border crossings, the Associated Press reported.

On Wednesday, Salinas issued an emergency declaration that will last seven days unless renewed by the Eagle Pass City Council.

The declaration activates the city’s Texas Emergency Plan and authorizes it to seek aid and assistance.

“The City of Eagle Pass is committed to the safety and well-being of our local citizens. The emergency declaration grants us the ability to request financial resources to provide the additional services caused by the influx of the undocumented immigrants,” Salinas said.

El Paso and San Diego, California, have also experienced an influx, causing authorities to close some border crossings there.

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About the Authors:

Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.

Daniela Ibarra joined the KSAT News team in July 2023. This isn’t her first time in the KSAT newsroom– the San Antonio native spent the summer of 2017 as an intern. Daniela is a proud Mean Green alum, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas.