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Migrant mother swims across Rio Grande River while in labor

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HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) —One migrant mother crossed the Rio Grande river while in labor after being turned down at private and public hospitals in Mexico.

The woman asked KVEO to keep her identity hidden, so for the purpose of the story, we will refer to her as “Maggie.

“I came across pregnant and in pain, I crossed the river in pain,” said Maggie. 

She hides her identity because she, along with her husband, fled from the Government of Nigacargua. Maggied said when she arrived to Matamoros, Mexico she was kidnapped.  

Maggie tells us she was looking to work in a residence. Instead, a group of people held her in the house against her will for a month.

She was able to escape when she ran and flagged down a passing car for help.

“I said ‘please help me!” said Maggie. “When they stopped their car I told them I had been kidnapped, I told them they wanted to assault me.”  

“I was cooking, I was taking care of chores, but the lady didn’t want to pay me, I was not paid.” said Maggie.

After reuniting with her husband. Maggie went into labor. The couple went to a hospital in Mexico not knowing they would not be helped. 

“It’s a mandatory regulation in Mexico that you have a card that says you have at least a maximum of three prenatal check-ups in which you attended,” said Maggie.   

Private hospitals requested $20,000 to $10,000 Mexican pesos to treat her, but the couple did not have any money.  

After she visited a public hospital, Maggie said she was turned down because she was asked to pay $20,000 pesos for not being a Mexican citizen.

Maggie said her last resort was to swim to the United States and give birth in the city of Brownsville.

“I said ‘I would stop there for the day-Just one day-and after the three of us couldn’t cross back together,” said Maggie.  

Currently, Maggie is living at La Posada Providencia, an emergency shelter in the city of San Benito, with her baby who is an American citizen. Her husband is still waiting in Mexico to be reunited with Maggie.

Executive Director of La Posada Providencia, Magda Bolland, said that cases like Maggie’s are not uncommon. 

“The people coming from border patrol are also families with small children under seven years of age,” said Bolland. 

Bolland told KVEO that now, they see at least 30 people come and go daily. 

“The number of beds has decreased, and the demand is definitely higher,” said Bolland. 

Bolland added that they have experienced the same numbers in 2019, but COVID-19 has taken away shelters and space that they once had. 

For now, at La Posada Providencia established an emergency holding room to address the volume of migrants seeking shelter on short notice. 

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