Female Migrant Dies While Escaping from Border Patrol in Texas

WESLACO, TX - APRIL 13: Undocumented immigrants are led after being caught and handcuffed by Border Patrol agents near the U.S.-Mexico border on April 13, 2016 in Weslaco, Texas. Border security and immigration, both legal and otherwise, continue to be contentious national issues in the 2016 Presidential campaign. (Photo by …
File Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

A female migrant died while attempting to escape from a Border Patrol agent near downtown Laredo, Texas. Agents arrested the woman after she illegally entered the United States. After slipping out of handcuffs, she ran into the darkness and fell from a 20-foot cliff and died from her injuries.

The incident occurred on Saturday morning at approximately 6:00 a.m. when a Border Patrol agent encountered four migrants after they emerged from the Rio Grande River near the Juarez-Lincoln port of entry. The agent arrested the four migrants and used three sets of handcuffs to connect the migrants to each other. As the agent assisted the group of migrants across a fence on the way to a Border Patrol vehicle, the female migrant managed to extricate her hand from the handcuff and escape.

In total darkness, the female migrant, later identified as a Mexican national, ran a short distance before falling from the cliff. She struck her head on a log near the edge of the river. The arresting agent secured three other migrants into his vehicle and attempted to aid the injured woman.

Laredo Fire and EMS personnel were summoned and declared the woman deceased at the scene. The Laredo Police Department, the Webb County Medical Examiner’s Office, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility are investigating the woman’s death. The case will also be reviewed by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General.

The incident highlights the dangerous nature of illegal crossings along the southwest border. This year, according to Customs and Border Protection, more than 325 migrants have died attempting to cross the border illegally. This number only reflects deaths encountered by Border Patrol agents between October and August.

The number does not count deaths discovered by Mexican authorities or those encountered by state and local authorities further inland. As the number of migrants attempting to enter the United States illegally climbs, it is likely the number of migrants who perish by drowning, vehicle accidents, and heat-related illness will climb as well.

As of July, Border Patrol agents arrested more than 1.2 million migrants since October. This fiscal year, the agency is on pace to break historical apprehension records.

Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.

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