Local officials keep a refrigerated truck to hold the bodies of migrants who drown in the currents of the Rio Grande while trying to cross the border into the U.S.
Across the river, families having picnics or walking along the waterfront promenade of Piedras Negras, Mexico, say they sometimes see bodies floating by or bobbing among the reeds under a bridge. “We had times when we received four or five bodies a week,” said Hugo González, owner of Funerarias González in Piedras Negras. “At one point, there were a lot of corpses and there was nowhere to put them. We just didn’t have enough refrigerators at the funeral home.”
A spike in deaths along the most dangerous stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border reflects the escalating number of migrants seeking to cross into the U.S. from troubled home countries. At the same time, U.S. immigration policies are allowing fewer of them legal entry. Many migrants have turned to human smugglers and WhatsApp messages to help them navigate more lightly patrolled—and treacherous—sections of the border to enter illegally, U.S. officials said.