PHOTO BY: Credit: United States government work/CBP/Photographer: Donna Burton

Border wall spans the international boundary between Arizona and Mexico

Tucson, Arizona – The tragic situation of women and children traveling all the way from North India took another turn when US Border Patrol (US Customs and Border Protection CBP) announced this weekend (June 14-16) that two missing Indian nationals, a mother and her 8-year-old daughter, crossed the border back into the United States and surrendered to agents. “The mother and her 8-year-old daughter were transported to a local hospital for treatment for dehydration,” the agency added.

A 6-year-old citizen of India was not so lucky as her body was discovered 17 miles west of Lukeville by Border Patrol earlier. She was reportedly traveling with four others and dropped near the international boundary by human smugglers who ordered the group to cross in the ‘dangerous and austere’ location.

Pima County Chief Medical Examiner Gregory Hess identified the girl as Gurupreet Kaur, noting she was 6 years and 11 months old. Her death was accidental and caused by hyperthermia, Hess said.

“Our sympathies are with this little girl and her family,” said Tucson Chief Patrol Agent Roy Villareal, adding, “This is a senseless death driven by cartels who are profiting from putting lives at risk.”

Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents in a statement shared the information after encountering two adult women from India, who explained how they had come to the United States, and that three others, a woman and two children, had become separated from them hours earlier.

The two women were taken into custody and the border patrol agents searched the area north of the international border in remote terrain, seven miles west of Quitobaquito Springs, for the missing persons. Within hours, they discovered the little girl’s remains, which were recovered by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

Aircraft and helicopters from National Guard and CBP’s Air and Marine Operations were called out to expand the search, while additional agents from Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue Unit, the Ajo Border Patrol Station, and personnel from the Bureau of Land Management combed the area on foot.

Soon the efforts got results and CBP agents located footprints indicating the remaining two members of the group crossed back into Mexico. CBP and Mexican authorities continued to search the area for any associated persons.

One mile south of the where the girl’s body was found, Mexico’s Highway 2 runs parallel to the border, a few hundred yards south of the international boundary. On the US side of the border, this remote area is a rugged desert wilderness with few backcountry roads and little to no resources. According to the National Weather Service, the high temperature in the area was approximately 108 degrees.

US Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between official ports of entry. The agency in its report noted a quantum jump in the numbers of Indians crossing US borders in recent years. Last year, the figures rose above 9,000 people from India as detainees from India on the US borders nationwide, compared to 3,100 from the prior year.

Asked to comment on the ongoing situation, Indian Embassy in Washington DC in a statement to IAT said: “We have been in close touch with the authorities on this unfortunate incident. They have been keeping us informed. Our Consulate in San Francisco has been in touch with the mother of the deceased to offer any assistance. They have also sought consular access and our consular officers plan to visit the location on Monday as soon as access is granted.”


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