By Dan Whitcomb
(Reuters) – Eight migrants died and 37 were rescued as they tried to cross the Rio Grande River into the United States near Eagle Pass, Texas, U.S. customs officials said on Friday.
Border patrol agents, along with local fire and police agencies, were searching for possible additional victims a day after the Thursday incident, said Customs and Border Protection spokesman Rick Pauza.
A total of 53 migrants were taken into custody by U.S. border patrol agents, including the 37 rescued from the river, Pauza said. Mexican government authorities arrested 39 people.
Texas has been at the center of a fierce national debate over illegal immigration that will likely play a role in the November mid-term elections.
Federal and local officials are scrambling to locate close to a dozen unaccompanied migrant children, after Houston police raised concerns about their whereabouts, Reuters reported on Friday.
The deaths and missing children underscore the challenges for President Joe Biden’s administration as it faces a record number of unaccompanied kids arriving at the southwest border.