Border Patrol agents have made a public plea to migrants not to cross the treacherous Rio Grande River, as a means of entering the United States at a port connecting Texas and Mexico.
This announcement comes on the heels of nine migrants drowning while attempting to cross the Rio Grande last week; and according to reports, emergency officials are still searching for bodies in the "rain-swollen river."
After Thursday's heavy rainfall in Texas, U.S. officials were able to rescue 37 people from the flooded waterway.
On Saturday, Jason Owens, chief patrol agent of the Del Rio sector, laid out the warning.
"The currents of the Rio Grande have become more dangerous, due to recent and continuing rainfall, and more rain is forecasted for the coming week," Owens said in a statement provided to Fox News. "Despite these adverse conditions, U.S. Border Patrol, Del Rio sector continues to encounter more than 100+, 200+ attempting to cross the Rio Grande daily."
Owens concluded in the statement: "In an effort to prevent further loss of life, we are asking everyone to please avoid crossing illegally."
The Rio Grande typically runs about 3 feet deep, a level that's shallow enough for migrants to sometimes traverse by foot. However, there are reports of the Rio Grande currently going deeper than 5 feet; and as a consequence, the Rio Grande waters are running "five times faster than normal."
Even before last week's drownings, the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass, Texas, had served as one of highest-trafficked entry ports for migrants crossing the southern border.
For the month of July, migrants were stopped nearly 50,000 times at the Del Rio Sector. The Rio Grande Valley port wasn't far behind, with 35,000 apprehensions by border officials.
While speaking to The Associated Press, Stephanie Leutert, director of Central America and Mexico Policy Initiative at the University of Texas' Center for International Security and Law, says that migrants from a number of countries — including Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua — have been continually drawn to the Eagle Pass area.
And some might view crossing the Rio Grande as their best shot of entering America, added Leutert.
"There are places when the water levels are down where you could wade across, but when the river is up it's extremely dangerous, especially if you’re carrying kids or trying to help someone who is not a strong swimmer," said Leutert.
As Newsmax chronicled in mid-August, human traffickers are using the chaos at the U.S.-Mexico border to funnel large groups of migrants through the Rio Grande Valley and Del Rio sectors, knowing border agents don't have enough manpower to thoroughly vet each unlawful crossing.
On a single Sunday last month, more than 2,000 migrants were apprehended in the Del Rio/Eagle Pass sector. The vast majority were subsequently released to pursue asylum claims.
And as of July, with two months still left in the 2021-22 fiscal year, Border Patrol agents apprehended more than 1.8 million migrants, already breaking the agency's previous record.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.