On the banks of the Rio Grande, Maverick County Sheriff Tom Schmerber pointed at the spot where just a day earlier a 3-year-old boy had drowned.
“Medical attention [was] provided,” Schmerber said. “He died anyway.”
The boy’s white T-shirt had a murky tinge in a post-mortem photo. Schmerber pointed down river and said “three or four” adult migrants recently drowned there. He pulled out his phone and showed CNN some of the most recent post-mortem and scene photos of migrant deaths in his county.
“I feel sad for the families,” said Schmerber.
The sight of migrant bodies floating onshore or turning up in the surrounding ranchlands has become an almost everyday occurrence recently, Schmerber says.
The number of migrants attempting the crossing has continued to rise, and the increase in arrivals is leading to more deaths, according to Schmerber.
Some of the deaths are also due to migrants taking more and more risks to evade detection by federal authorities, he says. People are crossing the tumultuous Rio Grande, walking through dangerous ranchlands in the record Texas heat and paying the ultimate price, the sheriff adds.
It’s something immigration rights advocates have warned about as the latest tragic trend: people being forced to take increasingly risky paths due to mix of border policies that have made it more difficult for migrants to seek refuge in the U.S.
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