An 8-year-old boy from Honduras drowned while trying to cross the freezing Rio Grande from Mexico into Texas with his family. Although they had stopped on a small island, the boy "couldn't withstand the pounding water, which covered him and kept him submerged for several meters," Mexican immigration officials said. His body was pulled out of the water, the Guardian reports, but he couldn't be revived. His parents and sister made the crossing, from Piedras Negras to Eagle Pass, Texas, but were returned to Mexico by Customs and Border Protection. A Venezuelan woman died trying to make the crossing at the same spot on the same day, Mexican officials announced, per ABC. Drownings are frequent in the Rio Grande, whose depth and currents can be deceptive.
Crossing the river is especially dangerous now, during the storm that's brought snow and freezing conditions to Texas. The Border Patrol says more than 200 undocumented migrants suffering from exposure and other conditions related to the cold have been detained on the Texas side in the past week. The agency said the migrants came from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Ecuador. The pandemic is another driver of migration. "We're seeing a big increase in migrants arriving in Mexico, trying to escape the consequences of climate change and make a better life," said the founder of a Mexico City advocacy group. "There’s no adequate shelter in Mexico because of the pandemic, and they're encountering the impact of climate change in the north." (Read more Rio Grande stories.)