Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
Border Patrol agents took 306 migrants – the largest group so far to cross the border near the Antelope Wells port of entry – into custody.
The group arrived just after midnight Thursday and most of the migrants are parents with children and minors traveling on their own.
“Some of the juveniles were in need of immediate medical assistance and were transported to local hospitals for treatment of various illnesses and injuries,” according to a Border Patrol news release issued Friday.
The news release added that “at the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station, one of the agents was notified by an adult that was detained from a separate group that he was in need of medical attention due to a growing rash on his leg.”
That man was transported to a hospital and, according to Border Patrol, “hospital staff diagnosed the subject with a flesh eating bacteria and will require additional and more extensive treatment.” But the agency did not identify the bacteria or whether the condition is contagious.
This is the 26th group of more than 100 people to come across the border in the remote area in New Mexico’s Bootheel region since October. Most are Central Americans seeking asylum, and many are from Guatemala.
“Criminal organizations smuggling these groups continue to take advantage of these groups of people in order to enhance their illicit activities without due regard to the risks to human life,” according to the Border Patrol news release.
Immigrant advocates say Central Americans have resorted to taking dangerous remote routes to reach the U.S. because asylum-seekers are turned away at legal ports of entry and told to put their names on a waiting list in Mexico.
Drug traffickers are taking advantage of the large group crossings at Antelope Wells to divert attention from their attempts to move loads of narcotics across the border, according to the Border Patrol’s El Paso sector, which includes all of New Mexico.
Last week, Border Patrol agents seized 265 pounds of marijuana and arrested two suspects just west of Antelope Wells while other agents were busy taking a large group of migrants into custody.