Honduran Mother and Child Drown Crossing the Rio Grande After Stress From 'Remain in Mexico' Policy

Photo: Veronica G. Cardenas (AP)

After desperate weeks waiting for an immigration court hearing, a Honduran mother and her child drowned while attempting to cross the Rio Grande into Texas. Idalia Yamileth Herrera Hernandez and her son, Gael Cordova Herrera, had entered the U.S. to seek asylum for herself and her 21-month-old toddler, but were sent to Matamoros, Mexico as a part of the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

Formally known as at the Migrant Protection Protocols program, the policy requires migrants to wait for their asylum claims in the U.S. to be processed while in Mexico. This means, according to CBS News, the asylum seekers are not in U.S. government custody. “MPP cases are, for prioritization purposes, treated as though they are detained, so some non-detained cases are being reset,” a spokesperson for the Executive Office for Immigration Review told CBS News. “We continue to expand our capacity for hearing cases through more immigration judge hiring and implementation of additional efficiencies.”

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The bodies of the Herreras were recovered near San Felipe Creek in Val Verde Country, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Idalia was 26. The pair had been sleeping on the street and in shelters leading up to their attempt to cross the river into America.

She had expressed her concern and nervousness about crossing the Rio Grande. “Imagine, I’m going to cross the river and I don’t know how is it going to be... what if I drown?” Idalia’s husband Elmer Cordova told Univision 34 of a text she sent before her death.

In June, another parent and child drowned in the Rio Grande while attempting to cross the border. Oscar Alberto Martínez and 23-month-old Angie Valeria were from El Salvador and drowned near Brownsville.

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