Eight-month-old Daniel Mendez garbed in a gray hooded sweatshirt. The bottoms of his white-footed clothes were congealed in dirt and muck and he was holding his bottle. He smiled at his father, Joel Mendez, one last time before being pushed under a badly dug hole at the border wall dimercating Mexico and the United States.
Honduran migrant Mendez, 22, gave baby Daniel to his 24-year-old girlfriend Yesenia Martinez, who had went under moments earlier, being ready to cross onto American soil this last Friday. Mendez could not make the risky journey. He stayed behind in Tijuana to work because he feared instant deportation if he’d crossed.
Rocking Daniel, Martinez yielded to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who were waiting for border crossers.
Just like Martinez, many other Central American migrants , who are displeased by the asylum process or for unsafe reasons because Mexicans are becoming more violent towards them, have been taking matters into their own hands. At times, the results have been deadly.
On Wednesday night, an unknown migrant and two others from El Salvador were caught unlawfully entering the country about two miles west of the Gran Plaza Outlets near Calexico, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.
Border Patrol agents detained two men after they swam across the All-American Canal, which runs parallel to the Mexico-California border. The third man was battling to stay afloat; the two others left him behind. A search-and-rescue team was unable to get to him because of a freak storm that night caused heavy rain and low visibility. His body was recovered the next morning.
Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez said “This incident tragically illustrates how human smuggling organizations place migrants in perilous situations, “This man put his trust in human smugglers and it cost him his life.”
U.S. inspectors at the main border crossing in San Diego are processing up to 100 asylum claims daily, but thousands still wait. And while the U.S. and Mexico have worked to make the journey into America appear less delightful, numerous people in the caravan claim it’s still better than the realities they experience at home, along with extreme violence and poverty. Most, upon crossing illegally, claim asylum.
In late November, a Honduran teenager who was 8 months pregnant climbed the border wall with her 3-year-old son and husband. Maryury Elizabeth Serrano-Hernandez and her family had journeyed more than 2,000 miles.
She, too, claimed asylum after crossing illegally and was taken to the Imperial Beach Station in San Diego County for processing. She started facing pain and went into labor early. Serrano-Hernandez was rushed to a hospital in San Diego where she delivered and is believed to be the first member of the migrant caravan to have a child in the United States.
Border Patrol told Fox News that members of her family “placed into immigration proceedings and released on their own recognizance on December 2.”
The disagreementat the border and the administration’s reaction to it has disunited most of the country. Last month, pictures of federal agents shoting tear gas on hundreds of migrants provoked some outrage with so many top Democrats blaming the White House.
Those complaints were crushed after data from the Department of Homeland Security exposed that agents also released tear gas at the U.S.-Mexico border dozens of times during the Obama administration.
President Trump has sworn to stop migrants from entering the U.S. He’s ramped up rhetoric about the types of people seeking asylum and has claimed several of them in the caravan are strong criminals and ready to bring havoc. He’s also deployed thousands of troops to patrol the border.
The border mission was assumed to end on Dec. 15, but on Tuesday, Defense Secretary, James Mattis extended the deployments of active duty troops into early 2019.
Presently, there are about 5,600 troops stationed in Texas, Arizona and California. Some troops in California have been aiding Border Patrol place concertina wire and build concrete barriers at border crossing points – something Mattis indicated two weeks ago was almost concluded.