6/27/19 4:54:14 PM -- San Luis, Arizona -- United States Border Control agents patrol along the Yuma Border Patrol Sector of the United States Border Patrol. At 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, the radio crackled in Border Patrol vehicles throughout southern Arizona.
“We got a group walking east,” the voice said calmly. “Just south of the twelve.”
Within seconds, two Border Patrol vehicles were speeding along the metallic-red section of border wall that separates the city of San Luis, Ariz., and the city of the same name on the Mexican side. With the setting sun at their backs, a group of four women – a pregnant woman with her three-year old child and a 41-year-old woman with her 13-year-old daughter – walked along the wall, looking for agents to turn themselves in.
They spoke no English, just enough to ask for water. They traveled light, with only two backpacks between them all. Border Patrol agents looked over their IDs – Romanian.
While Mexicans used to make up the vast majority of border crossers, and the recent surge of migrants has been predominantly Central Americans, the Romanian women served as a reminder that people from around the world make their way to Mexico as a way to get into the United States.
In 2018, citizens of 113 countries were apprehended along the southern border, according to Border Patrol data. More than 8,000 were apprehended from India, more than 1,000 from Bangladesh and Brazil, and more than 250 from Romania.
-- Photo by Jack Gruber, USA TODAY Staff