A migrant from Venezuela
A migrant from Venezuela prays after crossing the Rio Grande to Eagle Pass, Texas. AFP

The sun had barely risen above Eagle Pass, Texas, when the migrants wading across the Rio Grande from Mexico had a crisis on their hands.

They had tied their belts together to create a makeshift rope to hold onto but it broke, and the river was sweeping away a mother and her one-year-old baby.

Such harrowing scenes are a daily occurrence on the southern US border, where thousands are crossing each day in search of their own American dream despite the dangers to themselves, efforts by Texas authorities to keep them out and gridlock on the national level about how to respond to the influx.

The child was grabbed by another man deep in the river, and the mother reached the shore as US authorities just watched. The migrants passed a rope to baby Olga and Yonder Urbina, a temporary relief to the day's already high-strung start.

"It's sad to see a baby in those conditions, that it's the mother's life or her daughter's life," said Urbina.

But the calm that had just washed over the migrants was short-lived.

Greeting them on the US side of the Rio Grande was an inextricable tangle of concertina wire, which Texas authorities reinforce daily.

But turning back is not an option, and there is no obstacle that discourages them -- not this far into their journey, with the end goal of reaching US soil so close.

They eventually find a section of border wall made of shipping containers. Rather than being deterred, they simply climb over.

Meanwhile, back at the river, more migrants cross, and Border Patrol agents prepare their boat for river rescues.

Those on the US side crowd the concertina wire wall, as temperatures climb past 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 Celsius).

Worried about the scorching desert heat, Border Patrol agents eventually relent, cutting the wire to rescue them from the brutal temperatures.

"We just want to get our children ahead," says Venezuelan Yusmayra Pirela, 38.

Another woman, Maria Argentina, a double amputee, finds herself and her wheelchair stuck on an island in the middle of the river. Border patrol agents worry that the currents would make a boat rescue impossible.

After a makeshift rescue by her fellow migrants, Argentina, covered in mud, bursts into tears upon reaching the shore.

Elsewhere, migrants push through sections of the wire, tearing their clothing. Some are cut, bleeding profusely.

For many who are taken into custody, months or years of legal uncertainty await them while their asylum claims work through a severely backlogged system.

As the sun sets, Texas authorities cover holes in the wire. But they know the same scenes will repeat themselves tomorrow -- and the day after that.

"This is a hot spot," a Border Patrol agent says.

"Today was tense," he adds. "But for us, it's another day at the border."

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.