Things That Matter

The Rio Grande Claims Life Of An 8-Year-Old Boy As Migrants Risk Arctic Conditions To Cross Into U.S.

Texas is seeing an unprecedented weather crisis as much of the state is plunged into bitterly cold conditions. But that hasn’t stopped many migrants and refugees from attempting to cross into the U.S. for protection.

Many migrants cross the Rio Grande (or Río Bravo en Mexico) between Texas and the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Crossing the Rio Grande is always a dangerous undertaking but now, thanks to the freezing weather, it’s an especially perilous journey and it’s claimed the life of another child.

An 8-year-old boy has drowned while crossing the river with his family.

Authorities have reported that an 8-year-old Honduran boy has become the latest victim in a string of drownings at the Rio Grande, between the the U.S. and Mexico. Despite the unprecedented weather, migrants continue to attempt to cross the dangerous river to reach the U.S.

The child was with his family attempting to cross the river when he drowned on Wednesday, just as Texas was gripped by Arctic conditions which have killed more than 30 people and left millions in Mexico and Texas without power, water and food. The boy’s parents and sister apparently made it to the U.S., but were returned to Mexico by U.S. Border Patrol.

According to Mexican immigration officials, the boy “couldn’t withstand the pounding water, which covered him and kept him submerged for several meters”. His body was recovered but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

The Rio Grande is notoriously dangerous for people attempting to cross the border.

The journey across the Rio Grande has always been a perilous one, with hundreds of people, many of whom could not swim, having drowned over the years after being caught by the deceptively deep waters and strong current.

Add in the current winter storm currently blanketing the entire state of Texas, has produced significant snow and prolonged freezing temperatures, has made the crossing even more dangerous.

In fact, earlier in the week, the river had claimed another victim. A woman from Venezuela died trying to cross the river in the same area after getting trapped in below-freezing currents. Three others suffered hypothermia: one was treated by the Red Cross in Mexico, while the other two made it the US border.

Drownings are just one of the dangers migrants face.

Apart from the potential for drownings, migrants face a wide range of dangerous while attempting to cross from Mexico into the U.S. In late January, 19 bodies were found shot and burned in a vehicle near the town of Camargo, also across the border from Texas.

There’s also the threat of violence from drug cartels and smugglers, corrupt officials, and other extreme elements, such as heat during the summer.

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Biden Administration Says Number Of Kids In Border Custody Drops 84% Over Last Month

Things That Matter

Biden Administration Says Number Of Kids In Border Custody Drops 84% Over Last Month

John Moore/Getty Images

As recently as last month more than 5,000 children languished in jail-like conditions inside U.S. Border Patrol facilities, often for longer than the 72-hour limit set by federal law. But, according to the Biden administration, that number has dropped by 84% as the agencies charged with migrant detention make significant progress.

Questions remain, however, about where these children are being sent to instead and why there remains a need for jail-like conditions in the first place.

The number of kids in jail-like Border Patrol facilities drops 84% compared to March.

The number of unaccompanied migrant children held in jail-like conditions by US Customs and Border Protection dropped nearly 84% in the span of a month, according to a White House official. As of last Wednesday, there were 954 children in CBP facilities, down from a peak of 5,767 on March 28, the official told CNN.

The average time that kids are in CBP custody is now 28 hours, compared to 133 hours on March 28, the official said, a nearly 80% reduction in time spent in Border Patrol detention.

In an interview with NBC News this week, Biden suggested that the situation with unaccompanied children is now under control, saying, “It’s way down now. We’ve now gotten control,” and touted “significant change in the circumstances for children to and at the border.”

In recent weeks, the Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for the care of migrant children, has opened up a string of temporary shelters to accommodate minors. That’s allowed for an increasing number of children being transferred out of border facilities to spaces equipped to care for them at a quicker pace.

The drop in children in custody is a welcome sign given the conditions they faced.

In some cases, children were alternating schedules to make space for one another in confined facilities and taking turns showering, often going days without one, while others hadn’t seen the sunlight in days.

While the administration works to address root causes of migration, it’s also had to contend with growing numbers of children in government custody. As of April 27, there were more than 22,276 children in HHS care, according to government data.

Biden on NBC again warned Central American parents against sending children to the US.”Do not send your kids, period. They’re most — they’re in jeopardy going– making that thousand-mile trek,” Biden said. “And so what we’re doing now is we’re going back to those countries in question where most of it’s coming from and saying, ‘Look, you can apply from your country. You don’t have to make this trek.”

The shift in strategy comes as a new poll shows Americans overwhelmingly support new immigration policy.

A vast majority of Americans approve of the idea of engaging countries abroad to address the causes of migration before it happens, according to a new nationwide poll released Thursday.

Pollster Civiqs found that 85 percent of survey respondents agreed that the United States needs to engage with other countries to address migration patterns.

On a partisan basis, 86 percent of Democrats and 87 percent of Republicans, as well as 81 percent of independents, agree with that approach, according to Civiqs, which conducted the poll for Immigration Hub, a progressive immigration advocacy group.

The poll found that 57 percent of Americans accept illegal immigration when the immigrants are fleeing violence in their home countries.

That support is lower for undocumented immigrants who come for other reasons; 46 percent agree with immigrants arriving illegally to escape poverty or hunger, while 36 percent do if the migrants are seeking to reunite with family members, and 31 percent do if the migrants are looking for jobs in the United States.

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The Principal Of A Florida School Was Captured Spanking An Undocumented Six-Year-Old Student With A Paddle

Fierce

The Principal Of A Florida School Was Captured Spanking An Undocumented Six-Year-Old Student With A Paddle

CBS

Corporal punishment includes all sorts of cruel physical acts. They range from spanking, slapping, force-feeding, and pinching to pulling, twisting, and striking with an object. The act of corporal punishment has long been criticized for its part in causing greater damage than intended.

Though the effects might bring around immediate compliance, researchers have underlined that such changes in behavior are often only short-term and can increase aggressive behavior. Perhaps this is why the act has varying legal statuses across the country.

Elementary school principal Melissa Carter is learning her own lesson from corporal punishment, but not as the receiver.

The elementary school principal from Florida is being investigated by local authorities after her use of corporal punishment on a 6-year-old student was captured on camera.

Principal Melissa Carter and school clerk Cecilia Self used a paddle on the student last month as punishment for damaging a computer screen. According to local CBS affiliate WINK News, corporal punishment was performed on the child in front of their mother. The mother used her cell phone to record the paddling in a clip that has gone viral.

According to WINK News, a female employee from the school contacted the child’s mother on April 13 after her daughter allegedly damaged a computer.

The mother of the child, who speaks Spanish and not fluent English, said that she was confused by the allegations made against her daughter during the phone call. During the conversation the school employee had mentioned “paddling” but the mother didn’t understand what that meant because of her language barrier.

She had been under the impression that she had been brought to the school to pay a $50 fine. Instead, she was taken to Principal Carter’s office where her daughter and the principal were waiting.

Carter soon brought out a wooden paddle and smacked the six-year-old on the backside. The video recorded by the mothers shows the little girl crying in pain during the attack.   

The mother claimed she resisted intervening because she feared having her immigration status brought into question.

“Nobody would have believed me. I sacrificed my daughter, so all parents can realize what’s happening in this school,” told the local news about the incident. “The hatred with which she hit my daughter, I mean it was a hatred that, really I’ve never hit my daughter like she hit her. I had never hit her.”

Bret Provinsky, the mother’s attorney, said the State Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing the case to see whether they will pursue criminal charges against Carter and Cecilia Self.

Self was meant to translate for the mother, but the mother said she did not do so. “That’s aggravated battery. They’re using a weapon that can cause severe physical harm,” said Provinsky. “The child is terrified, she feels vulnerable. There’s nothing she can do in the hands of these adults, who treated her so brutally, savagely, sadistically.”

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