Migrant dies after crossing border into Sunland Park

·2 min read

Jun. 11—ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Officials say a migrant collapsed outside an elementary school a mile from the border and was pronounced dead Thursday afternoon in Sunland Park.

Border Patrol Agent Gilbert Deleon said the person was with a group of migrants when they collapsed and were left behind. He did not identify the person, give their age or gender.

Deleon did not immediately respond to additional questions on the matter.

"The summer heat in the West Texas and New Mexico border region is unforgiving and very dangerous for people attempting to illegally enter the United States," Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez, of the El Paso sector, said in a release. "Sadly yesterday, our Border Patrol agents discovered a deceased individual, approximately one mile from the international border, who appeared to have suffered heat-related trauma."

Deleon said agents working at the Santa Teresa Border Patrol Station were alerted on Thursday to a missing person from a group of migrants.

"Agents learned that the subject had collapsed near a local elementary school, but the group had not stopped and left the individual behind," he said. Deleon said agents found the person and they were later pronounced dead.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico identified the migrant as a 20-year-old man seeking asylum who died "in the harsh summer heat of the Sunland Park desert."

ACLU spokesperson Davida Gallegos said the organization was calling on the Biden administration to "reverse Trump-era policies that make tragic deaths like this inevitable."

"This young man's death is yet another example of how inhumane policies like Title 42 force people who are escaping horrible conditions in their home countries to make dangerous and desperate decisions," Nayomi Valdez, ACLUNM public policy director, said in a release. "All people coming to the US in search of sanctuary should be treated with the care and dignity they deserve."

Valdez went on to say that Biden previously promised to reverse Trump's "cruel border policies" and his administration "must be held accountable to its promises to establish a fair and humane approach at the border."

Gallegos said the man's death wasn't the only case of migrants recently found "in distress" in the area. She said a pair of Ecuadorian women, one of them unconscious, were hospitalized after being found near the Santa Teresa port of entry on Wednesday.

"Temperatures exceeding 100 degrees are creating deadly conditions for those crossing the border," Gallegos said.

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