Two bodies have been found near the chained buoys in the Rio Grande within 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) of each other, according to Mexican authorities.
The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Texas Department of Public Safety notified them that they discovered the first “lifeless body caught in the southern part of the buoys that were installed in the Rio Grande River.”
The announcement marks the first death reported near the new barriers that Texas installed to deter migration — an effort that has drawn widespread opposition from U.S. federal authorities, human rights organizations and Mexican authorities.
Mexican authorities announced hours later that the Beta Piedras Negras Group discovered a second body approximately 5 kilometers away from the first.
The two bodies had not been identified, Mexican authorities said.
Mexican officials doubled down on their position that the buoys installed by Texas authorities are a violation of Mexico’s sovereignty, pose significant dangers to migrants and do “not correspond to the close relationship that the governments of the United States and Mexico have maintained.”
“We reiterate the position of the Government of Mexico that the placement of chained buoys by Texas authorities is a violation of our sovereignty. We express our concern about the impact on the human rights and personal safety of migrants of these state policies, which run counter to the close collaboration between our country and the United States federal government,” Mexican officials said in the statement.
The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit last week against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) asking a court to force the state to remove the barriers. U.S. officials have argued the buoys are unconstitutional, pose a significant human rights danger and jeopardize its relationship with Mexico.
The buoys were installed earlier in July, just days after four migrants, including an infant, drowned trying to cross the river.
Abbott has described the barriers as a necessary response to the situation at the border, responding to an earlier objection to them by blaming President Biden’s administration.
“While I share the humanitarian concerns noted in your lawyers’ letter, Mr. President, your finger points in the wrong direction. Neither of us wants to see another death in the Rio Grande River. Yet your open-border policies encourage migrants to risk their lives by crossing illegally through the water, instead of safely and legally at a port of entry,” he wrote.