A mother and three children, including one toddler, were found dead on federal land on Monday near the Rio Grande River, which forms the border between Texas and Mexico.
Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said in a tweet that the FBI was taking over an investigation on four unidentified bodies found by Border Patrol agents on Sunday.
“Deputies are on scene by the river SE of the Anzalduas Park in Las Paloma Wildlife Management Area where Border Patrol agents located 4 deceased bodies. Bodies appear to be 2 infants, a toddler and 20yo female. Deputies are awaiting FBI agents who will be leading,” Guerra said Twitter.
The bodies, according to CBS News, were found very close to where a new section of U.S. President Donald Trump’s border fence is being constructed.
Border of death
Every year, hundreds of undocumented immigrants die while attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
According to the Missing Migrant Project, an NGO initiative that tracks the deaths of migrants around the world, 214 men, 20 women and four children died in 2018.
However, the remains of as many as 138 could not be identified for age or sex. The exact number remains unknown because many are simply never found.
“Those people who lose their lives attempting to reach the United States in this border region often do so due to the extreme natural conditions they face,” the group said in a January report.
The report underlined that most people have likely died of exposure and hypothermia, though deaths that occur in the desert go unreported.
Others are believed to have drowned while trying to cross the Rio Grande.
“Most deaths recorded on the U.S./Mexico border occur in the Arizona desert, with nearly 500 human remains discovered by the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner in the last three years,” the group added.
The UN migration agency reported fewer crossings but more migrant deaths in 2017.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported last year that 341,084 migrants were apprehended on the country’s southwestern border in 2017 versus 611,689 in 2016 — a drop of about 44% according to border patrol figures.
However, 412 migrant deaths were reported in 2017, compared to 398 the preceding year.
War on migrants
Trump has cracked down on immigration — both legal and illegal — to the U.S. since coming to office in 2017, with the brunt of his efforts devoted to curtailing undocumented migration from Central America where people are fleeing destitute conditions of rampant poverty and gang violence.
Trump’s efforts to stem immigration have repeatedly prompted controversy, particularly with its “zero tolerance” policy which initially separated migrant children from their parents as they faced deportation proceedings.
Several of Trump’s efforts have dealt with legal setbacks following successive court decisions that deemed them unconstitutional.
Mexican President Manuel Obrador Lopez has been cooperating with the U.S. in addressing the migrant issue at its source by arresting Central American migrants on Mexican soil in a bid to avoid tariffs threatened by Trump.
Washington warned Mexico against failing to demonstrate political determination to curb the migrant flow from Mexico to the U.S. border on pain of additional trade tariffs on Mexican goods.