Rio Grande river in Big Bend National Park, Texas
Image of the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park, Texas Creative Commons

Fire department officials in Texas pulled 54 people out of the Rio Grande on Tuesday evening, several of them with hypothermia, KTSM reported. The incident took place near the Texas-New Mexico state line, with authorities reaching the area after receiving reports of "multiple people in the water." 30 divers took part in the operation.

Concretely, six people suffered from hypothermia for being in the water too long. Some were taken to get receive medical treatment but none were in critical condition, according to Sunland Park Fire Chief Daniel Medrano.

"I have a message for the migrants: Crossing illegally is against the law and it is dangerous," Medrano added. Overall, Sunland Park Fire has done around 80 water rescues so far this year, including Tuesday's.

The people pulled out of the water were turned over to law enforcement, with Border Patrol agents in the area of the rescue. A spokesman for El Paso fire said that all those rescued were adults but didn't specify their ages. This number of people is odd. Usually, we have one or two people in the water," said Duenas, noting that authorities perform water rescues "weekly, every two weeks."

Migrants have been attempting to cross into the U.S. through new, more perilous routes as both the federal and local governments crack down on immigration. The Biden administration passed in June an executive action shutting down asylum-seeking once the average amount of daily encounters over a week exceeds 2,500 people.

Texas, on its, end has been reinforcing its border for the past years, part of its Operation Lone Star, aimed at stemming the flow of migrants reaching its territory. In fact, the state's National Guard has began installing metal fence posts and new rows of concertina wire in El Paso after removing razor wire days ago.

The Texas Military Department told Border Report that the razor wire was "temporarily removed to allow the International Boundary and Water Commission access to mow and service the area," but that it always planned to install it again. "This mowing reduces vegetation and increases the ability to detect illegal activity."

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been publishing images of large-scale work along the border, anticipating more robust measures to deter migrants from crossing through the state. Overall, the state has seen a a 74% drop in illegal border crossings since March 2021, when the state's Operation Lone Star began.

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