A still unidentified person of Mexican nationality died this Friday during an attempt to illegally cross the southern border with California through a sewer in the San Ysidro area, according to the Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego on Saturday.
At least another 16 migrants they were rescued and detained by the US authorities under the same circumstances. One of these people was taken to a hospital after being in serious condition, while others suffered minor injuries and were treated in outpatient clinics in San Diego, according to the Mexican consulate.
“Most” of these migrants will be deported to Mexico shortly, according to the authorities of this country.
The incident occurred after heavy rains were recorded in that area, so the drafts in the sewer system increased. Situations of this type can cause dangerous situations for those who try to go through these channels, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper.
Jeffrey Stephenson, a spokesman for the Border Patrol in San Diego, explained to this medium that, when these circumstances occur, human traffickers try to take advantage of the fact that the US authorities often open some floodgates to be able to transfer migrants to the other side.
A Border Patrol agent heard cries for help coming from behind a gate and opened it. In principle, one person was found dead and another he cared for. Later, reinforcements arrived who rescued other people trapped in the drain.
El @ConsulmexSDi informa que en el incidente reportado ayer en el alcantarillado fronterizo en San Ysidro. 1 persona falleció y al menos 17 fueron detenidas por Border Patrol. Se ha brindado la asistencia consular necesaria y seguimos atentos al desarrollo de los acontecimientos. pic.twitter.com/im8OsePl1R
— Carlos González Gtez (@carlos_glezgtez) January 31, 2021
Stephenson argued that when it rains heavily, conditions in these sewers quickly turn into a dangerous trap. “As soon as it starts to rain, the water rises. It happens very fast ”. he claimed.
The Consulate of Mexico in San Diego reported that the migrants detained after attempting this crossing “they are out of danger “.
This method of trying to reach US soil was seen frequently in 2019, a year of massive arrivals at the southern border before the coronavirus pandemic complicated the possibility of crossing it.
“Those who could pay $ 5,000 went through the top, but those of us who only brought $ 1,000 passed us through the sewers, which they never seemed to end“, a Mexican migrant who came to the United States in that way, told the EFE agency Aurora Gonzáles.
“There were women’s underwear thrown away, and the ‘polleros’ (human traffickers) told us that women who come alone rape them. I remember it was very hot and suffocating, and it was barely March,” he added.
Despite the fact that the southern border remains restricted for health reasons, the detentions of migrants for crossing it irregularly have been growing in the last three months of 2020, according to data from the Customs and Border Protection Office. The vast majority of those intercepted are quickly expelled.