Special Report: ‘Desperate’ Migrants Risk Their Lives and Bodies Climbing Small Boats Into the United States

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SAN DIEGO (Border Report) – In May, three people died and more than two dozen more were sent to hospital when the 40-food Cabin Cruiser they were in washed up off the coast of the coast of San Diego.

All were thrown into the water when the ship hit rocks after losing its engine.

This fatal episode highlights the dangers migrants face when they board small boats in the hope of landing somewhere north of the border.

“Unfortunately, this means that migrants have become much more frustrated, desperate, and are crossing in different ways, including the ocean,” said Pedro Rios, a migrant advocate with the American Friends Service Committee in San Diego.

Rios said migrants had few options given that most did not have access to the asylum process in the United States.

“We can attribute the increase in sea crossings to one point, I believe, which is the enforcement of Title 42. This is the CDC order that Trump put in place to allow the border patrol to keep the people away. migrants and not allow them to appear in immigration court, “said Rios.” Title 42 was developed with the idea of ​​eliminating black and brown migrants; it was implemented using the pandemic as an excuse suggesting that migrants were bringing COVID-19 disease to the United States and so it was a pretext to block migration and it continues to do so. “

Pedro Rios is the director of the American Friends Service Committee based in San Diego. (Elliot Macias / KSWB)

Rios is convinced that the implementation and continued enforcement of Title 42 is the reason more and more migrants are embarking on dangerous journeys to the United States through mountains, deserts and especially on the water.

“If the Biden administration were to recommit to protecting those seeking asylum, then many of those people would show up at the border and not feel the need to find dangerous ways to cross the United States,” he said. he declared.

It has been widely reported that most migrants are fleeing persecution, lack of opportunities and education for their children, continued violence and natural disasters that have destroyed crops and entire cities.

“All of these factors explain why many people think they have no choice but to migrate, and then the United States becomes a place where you would want to seek shelter,” said Rios.

According to US Customs and Border Protection, most migrants traveling north of the border start their journey well south of Tijuana. Border Report is told that migrants pay between $ 12,000 and $ 20,000 for a boat ride along the coast and must find half the money before they are allowed to board. Once in the United States, their families must find the rest of the money, or the migrants are forced to repay their debt to the smugglers.

“It’s a very dangerous trip. Often times you will have a lot of people cramming into what are called panga boats or they could get into slightly bigger boats. Sometimes there is a mix of not only people but contraband that is brought in with them. People are misinformed of what it means to get on the ship and cross into the United States and the dangers associated with it, one of them being that they could die; we have seen this happen time and time again.

Rios believes that most crossings, and sometimes their tragic consequences, are completely avoidable.

“The deaths in the water, the deaths in the desert are all preventable if not only the United States but the Mexican government and other governments are committed to protecting the lives of those who are forced to migrate, until what we saw that unfortunately we will continue to see these tragic incidents happening where there are deaths and destroyed families, ”he said.


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