Trump border wall causing 80% of migrant injuries, Mexican authorities say
Mexican officials say 80% of Mexican nationals were injured while attempting to cross the border illegally into San Diego were hurt because they fell from Trump’s 30-foot border wall.
Nearly 250 Mexican nationals were injured while trying to cross the border and 29 others died during the 2021-22 fiscal year, said Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, the Consul General of Mexico in San Diego.
“I am convinced that the decision to raise the wall up to 30 feet did not stop migration, nor did it deviate it,” Gonzalez Gutierrez said. “But it certainly increased the number of people who were seriously injured in their attempts to cross.”
In April, researchers at UC San Diego released a study about the“unprecedented increase in number of border wall falls and trauma.” The study revealed a five-fold increase in the number of high-severity injuries at the border since 2019 when the wall was raised from 17 to 30 feet.
Gonzalez Gutierrez joined top officials from the San Diego Sector of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Wednesday to warn migrants about the dangers of crossing illegally.
The agency has launched an awareness campaign aimed at reaching migrants in Mexico and Central America before they embark on their journey to the U.S.-Mexico border.
CBP agents have also deployed several “rescue beacons” along the more remote parts of the deserts and mountains in the border region. Stranded migrants can use the beacons, which are essentially metal poles with flags and flashing lights on them, to call for help.
Right now the CBP has four of these beacons in operation, with plans to add eight more mobile beacons that could be moved to places where migrants are attempting to cross the most.
CBP’s acting Deputy Patrol Chief Agent Patricia McGurk-Daniel blamed smugglers for trying to profit from desperate migrants. She said smugglers often downplay the dangers of crossing illegally.
“I can tell you that whether it’s a wall, whether it’s the ocean, whether it’s the desert terrain or whether it’s the mountains where frigid temperatures can drop and people can get hypothermia, smugglers will continue to push their commodities through without any disregard for the health and safety of those they push through,” McGurk-Daniel said.
However, advocates say Title 42 and other federal policies that limit legal entries into the United States incentivize illegal crossings.
Title 42, which the Trump administration implemented in April 2020, allows border patrol agents to turn away asylum seekers at the border without giving them a chance to see an immigration judge. For some, the asylum process is the only legal pathway into the United States.
Title 42 has been used to turn migrants away from the border roughly 2 million times, records show.
When asked about Title 42, McGurk-Daniel said CBP agents have no control over immigration policy.
“As dynamic as our mission changes, we do not have control and we do our best with what we have but we do it humanely and that is up to lawmakers to decide moving forward,” she said.