A 25-year-old man from El Salvador tried to swim with his daughter across the Rio Grande to Brownsville, Texas. Father and daughter were caught in the current, and drowned. Their bodies washed ashore on the Mexican side of the river, in an image that has seized the attention of the world.
But other sights, not photographed, are equally horrifying. A woman from Punjab, India, tried to walk her 6-year-old daughter across the Arizona desert earlier this month. The girl succumbed to heat stroke in the desert. The Border Patrol found the girl’s body.
Hundreds of African migrants have arrived on the U.S. southern border since October of last year. They’ve reported deaths along their route, again of heat and dehydration.
In the single month of May 2019, 133,000 people were apprehended on the southwestern border. Thanks to better cooperation with Mexico, apprehensions fell to 87,000 in June, still higher than at any previous point in the Trump or Obama administrations. It’s possible that more than 1 million people will be apprehended after entering the U.S. without authorization in fiscal 2019, a rate of unauthorized immigration not seen since the 1990s. They are coming from more than two dozen nations, and some from across two great oceans, transiting countries along the way in which they could find refuge, if refuge were all they sought. It is reasonable to wonder whether they believe that America’s door is open—and whether they are risking their lives and those of their children to rush through it before that door closes again.