Migrants falling from ‘unclimbable’ southern border wall fill hospitals

EL PASO, Texas – It wasn’t until Alma Zavala was on top of the 30-foot steel border fence that she realized how far she had to fall.

“I hugged the wall,” she said. “My hands were bleeding from the rough edges. The guide screamed, ‘Let go! Let go!’ I fell down and felt my bones break.”

Zavala, a young mother from Mexico, lay on a bed at an El Paso shelter Wednesday in a room with four other migrants who survived terrifying falls from a nearly three-story barrier. Between them, they had undergone eight operations in the past month. Zavala’s right leg was attached with an external fixator that looked like scaffolding.

Alma Zavala is resting at a migrant shelter in El Paso, Texas, after breaking her fibula after trying to cross into the United States illegally in October.

New public health data confirms what border trauma surgeons have suspected since the U.S. government began raising the height of the Southwest border wall to curb migration: The 30-foot-tall fence causes more injuries and is far deadlier than any barrier before it.

Doctors say the falls and deaths are a public health crisis for border communities at a time when the Biden administration and the state of Texas are investing in new border fences amid record fears of migrants.