KEY POINTS

  • Human smugglers putting lives of migrants at risk by encouraging them to climb the border wall
  • The Guatemalan woman fell some six meters
  • Border Patrol agency to work with Mexico to find the human smugglers

A 19-year-old Guatemalan woman, who was eight months pregnant, died after falling off the wall at the U.S. southern border near El Paso, Texas. The incident occurred last Saturday (March 7) .

An adult male who was with the woman -- Mirian Stephany Giron -- told the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents that she fell from the steel mesh border wall and landed on her back.

In a statement, the agency said the woman was taken to a local hospital where she underwent an emergency c-section. “Despite the best efforts of medical personnel, her unborn child did not survive,” the agency said. The woman later died in the hospital Tuesday. Medical personnel said Giron suffered cerebral hemorrhage, a pelvis fracture as well as liver and kidney lacerations.

The CBP attributed Giron’s death to human smugglers. The agency’s Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan revealed that Giron and her partner were taken to the border by smugglers and left in the darkness. Morgan told reporters that they were trying to climb the wall when she fell. Guatemalan authorities say Giron fell more than six meters.

Gloria Chavez, the chief for the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector, in an official statement said more lives have perished at the hands of human smugglers. The chief said the authorities would work with Mexico “to find those responsible for placing these lives in danger.”

“Someone in Mexico guided this eight-month pregnant woman from Guatemala to this section of the border and encouraged her and helped her climb the steel mesh border barrier,” Chavez said. “We will engage our law enforcement partners in Mexico to find those responsible for placing these lives in danger,” she said.

Tekandi Paniagua Flores, the Guatemalan consul in Del Rio, Texas, said there have been seven such cases, so far this year, with Guatemalans trying to cross over into the U.S. by climbing the border wall. Paniagua said migrants from Guatemala and other Central American countries impacted by poverty, violence and political turmoil, were trying to cross into the United States.