Two migrant men were struck and one killed by a border patrol vehicle tracking fresh footprints in a known smuggling route in southern Texas authorities announced Saturday.
Border patrol agents (BPA) near Kingsville, Texas were tracking the prints through tall grass and vegetation by foot and in vehicles Thursday when they found two separate groups of migrants.
A third group reportedly emerged after burrowing themselves in tall grass to tell the authorities two men had been run over by one of the vehicles.
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One of the injured migrants directed the authorities to the other injured Honduras man, at “which time a BPA Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) on the scene immediately attended to the migrants,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement Saturday.
An air ambulance was called for one of the migrants, who was flown to a hospital in Harlingen, Texas, where he was released later that day after medical personnel determined he did not suffer any serious injuries. The second injured man succumbed to his injuries.
“The initial investigation indicates BPAs were not aware anyone was burrowed in the grass nor were they aware anyone had been run over by a vehicle until informed by a migrant,” CBP said.
Migrant crossings along the U.S. southern border have nearly tripled from this time last year, with over 550,000 border encounters according to data by the CBP – the vast majority of which are single adults.
The Biden administration has come under severe criticism from Republicans on the Hill who believe President Biden’s campaign pledge to reverse Trump-era immigration policies has led to an increase in mass migration.
Immigrants attempting to cross the border illegally are still required to remain in Mexico or their country of origin while they await asylum court proceedings under Title 42 during the coronavirus pandemic.
But the Biden administration is looking to implement a humanitarian exception to circumvent the order put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March 2020, which would allow vulnerable migrants to await asylum hearings in the U.S.
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While single adults and family units are still expelled from the U.S. during this time, unaccompanied children are currently being held in facilities managed by CBP and Health and Human Services (HHS).
Unaccompanied minor arrivals have increased by 163 percent, with more than 47,600 arrivals this year compared to the nearly 18,100 unaccompanied children that arrived by this time last year.