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Woman Dies, 36 Detained after Swimming around U.S.-Mexico Border Barrier

People stand next to an interactive mural portraying the faces of deported migrants in Tijuana, Mexico, August 4, 2021. (Jorge Duenes/Reuters)

One woman died and 36 were taken into custody after a group of migrants attempted to swim around the border barrier from Tijuana, Mexico, into California on Friday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced.

Border Patrol agents were notified of a group of up to 70 migrants attempting to swim around the barrier on Friday, and agents found a woman unresponsive in the area. Agents performed CPR on the woman, however she was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Border agents detained 36 people in the operation, including 13 people pulled from the ocean by the U.S. Coast Guard. The whereabouts of any other migrants in the group, initially estimated at 70, were unclear.

“This is yet another example of the ruthless tactics smuggling organizations use to bolster their power and profits,” San Diego chief patrol agent Aaron Heitke said in a statement. “We will work tirelessly to pursue and bring to justice those responsible for this tragedy.”

The attempted crossing occurred at Border Field State Park, where the border barrier between the U.S. and Mexico extends roughly 300 feet into the ocean. A mother of two from Honduras died in March after attempting to swim around the barrier with her brother-in-law, who survived. There were 557 deaths among migrants crossing the border in the fiscal year that ended on September 30.

The latest death came while the Biden administration struggles to process large numbers of illegal crossings. Border agents arrested 1.66 million migrants at the southern border during the latest fiscal year, the highest level ever recorded.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is also a violist, and has served in the Israeli Defense Forces.

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