Mexicans swim for U.S. border
I am sitting on the banks of the Rio Grande in Reynosa, Mexico, with my CNN crew. I am also sitting next to six Mexican citizens who are getting ready to try to swim across the river and into the United States.
We are in a heavily wooded area that's full of clothes disposed of by people getting read to hop into the Rio Grande. The Mexicans we are with seem desperate, and they are scared to see us. They think we are police. I tell them we are journalists. I'm not sure they believe me.
One of our cameramen speaks fluent Spanish and tries to reassure them, but they remain nervous. They say they are waiting for a so-called "coyote," or human smuggler, to take them over. The coyotes get hundreds of dollars and sometimes more to do that job.
The U.S. government says apprehensions of illegal immigrants are down about a third from last year due to increased border patrol presence and the addition of the National Guard along the border.
That claim appears to have credence on the streets of Reynosa. Many people we interviewed here, including those who have spent much illegal time in the United States, say they are now more wary of trying to go back.
Anyway, back to our six guys on the banks of the river. As they sit next to their small rubber boat, we see three other men in the distance, also hiding in the woods. We go to talk to them.
It appears they are the coyotes. They tell us to get out of there with our cameras. Their threat of ramifications is implicit, but their threatening tone is explicit.
We leave and go to another part of the river. It's there we see a man paddling furiously in the Rio Grande. He sees us and turns back. His name is Enrique.
He claims he was just out for a swim. But he is wearing all his clothes and says he has swum to Texas many times before, earning some jail time on a previous visit. We're not sure why he swam back, but we don't think that he too was so pleased to be on camera.
It's another sad and pitiful day on the border.
-- By Gary Tuchman, CNN Correspondent