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See the perilous journey migrants take to get to the U.S.

Alasdair Baverstock


Continuing our look at the migrant crisis at the U.S. border with Mexico, and the dangers migrants face along their journeys, CGTN's Alasdair Baverstock reports now on one of the greatest perils: Those final steps to cross the border itself.  

The Rio Grande, running from El Paso, Texas, to the Atlantic Ocean, it marks more than half of the 3,000-kilometer U.S. Mexico border.

Defended with razor wire, military tanks and a floating border wall, it is also the front line of a migration crisis that saw a record two-and-a-half million undocumented migrant encounters in fiscal year 2023.

Tragedy on the Rio Grande has been an all-too-common occurrence this past year. Local migration activists here in Eagle Pass say more than 700 migrants have died in 2023 attempting to cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into Texas, along this stretch of the border.

A memorial of multiple crosses to those victims on the Texas side of the river erected by the Eagle Pass Border Coalition, a migrant advocacy group. seeks to show the magnitude of the problem.

Local sheriff Tom Schmerber is often tasked with recovering what local authorities now crudely refer to as ‘floaters.’

"We’ve seen babies, we’ve seen pregnant females. The currents take them and they end up here floating, you know, because they don't know how to swim or they can't control the currents. It’s a dangerous river," Schmerber said.

However, for migrants like Venezuelan Marlene Rivas, who crossed two days ago, the river is just one of a number of deadly threats they face on their perilous journey to get here.

"Living in Venezuela is dangerous. Crossing the Darien Gap is dangerous. Traveling through Guatemala and Mexico is dangerous," she said. "When you migrate from your country looking for a better life, you have to face everything that’s thrown at you."

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