Mexico recovers 2 bodies from the Rio Grande, one near a Texas-installed floating barrier

Texas State Troopers watch from an airboat as workers deploy a string of large buoys
Texas State Troopers watch from an airboat as workers deploy a border barrier at the center of the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass, Texas, on July 11.
(Eric Gay / Associated Press)
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Mexican authorities are trying to identify two bodies found in the Rio Grande this week, including one that was spotted along the floating barrier that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered installed recently.

Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department reported for the first time Wednesday that a body had been found along the floating barrier. The Coahuila state prosecutor’s office later told local media outlets that the two bodies were recovered and that the process of identification was underway.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said in a statement Thursday that it had received a report Wednesday of “a possible drowning victim floating upstream from the marine barrier and notified [U.S. Customs and Border Protection] and the Mexican Consulate.”


The agency said later Wednesday that a second body was found at the marine barrier.

“Preliminary information suggests this individual drowned upstream from the marine barrier and floated into the buoys,” agency director Steve McCraw said. “There are personnel posted at the marine barrier at all times in case any migrants try to cross.”

The Justice Department is suing Republican Gov. Greg Abbott over a floating barrier Texas placed on the Rio Grande to stop migrants from entering the U.S.

July 24, 2023

Abbott’s office and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department initially said one body was discovered along the barrier, then hours later said a second was found about three miles upriver, away from the buoys. The cause of death is unknown in both cases.

Many had warned about the danger of the barrier, designed to make it more difficult for migrants to climb over or swim under.

Mexico had warned about the risks posed by the bright orange, wrecking-ball-sized buoys on the Rio Grande across from Eagle Pass, Texas. The Foreign Relations Department also claimed that the barrier violates treaties regarding the use of the river and Mexico’s sovereignty.

“We made clear our concern about the impact on migrants’ safety and human rights that these state policies would have,” the department said in a statement.


Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is pushing legal boundaries on the Mexican border to install razor wire and deploy massive buoys on the Rio Grande.

July 24, 2023

Mexico confirmed it was officials from the Texas Department of Public Safety who initially notified Mexico’s Consulate in Eagle Pass on Wednesday about a body.

The barrier, installed in July, stretches roughly the length of three soccer fields. The U.S. Justice Department is suing Abbott over the floating barrier.

The lawsuit asks a court to force Texas to remove it. The Biden administration says the barrier raises humanitarian and environmental concerns.

The buoys are the latest escalation of Texas’ border security operation that also includes razor-wire fencing and arresting migrants on trespassing charges.

Migrant drownings occur regularly on the Rio Grande. Over the Fourth of July weekend, before the buoys were installed, four people, including an infant, drowned near Eagle Pass.