A particularly grim spotlight on the Trump administration’s harsh treatment of asylum seekers emerged this week with reports that a so far unidentified Mexican man seeking asylum killed himself on a bridge into the United States after Border Patrol denied him entry. The incident took place on Wednesday afternoon on the Mexican side of the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, which crosses the border-marking Rio Grande River. It’s been reported that the man was in his 30s, but it’s unclear both why exactly he was denied entry and what exact conditions sparked his suicide, which took place just yards away from the line dividing Mexican and U.S. territory.
Border Patrol issued only a terse response to the incident, sharing:
‘U.S. Customs and Border Protection expresses its deepest sympathies at this tragic loss of life.’
Two Mexican security officials shared a short video and photos with Reuters that depicted the time leading up to and right after the incident. The outlet adds that the “attorney general’s office for the Mexican state of Tamaulipas… said it was investigating the man’s death.” That area encompasses the Mexican side of the border at that particular location. The bridge on which the man killed himself drops off at the Texas city of Pharr.
Reuters notes that many asylum seekers “say their lives are at risk at home from violent criminal gangs, which have made parts of the country increasingly perilous,” and in fact, on multiple occasions, people who the Trump administration has kicked out of the country have been killed. No threats of violence or documented instances of it have driven any kind of slowdown in the Trump administration’s rush to block off the southern border to the U.S. by just about any means necessary.
Last fall, a Cuban immigrant in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) committed suicide at a privately run detention facility in Louisiana. The immigrant — 43-year-old Roylan Hernandez-Diaz — “had grown increasingly frustrated with the difficulty of fighting his case from behind bars and the conditions in the facility, although it’s unclear what kind of abuse he was facing,” in the description of Vice News.
There have been numerous reports of dangerous conditions forced on immigrants detained by various arms of the Trump admin. Comparatively just recently, documentation emerged showing that Border Patrol had even lied about the death of an ill Guatemalan teenager. They claimed that a guard had discovered that the victim was unresponsive during a check, but in reality, he clearly collapsed in the middle of the night and was left for hours before his cellmate — not a guard — discovered what had happened and alerted authorities.
Trump has claimed that all of his administration’s crackdowns have been necessary, but the evidence for that claim just is not there. Undocumented immigrants do not pose a documented security threat to the United States in any form. There are no high crime rates, and many of them can’t even receive almost any government benefits — but the president has been leading his racist charge anyway.