Border Patrol agents stationed in Falfurrias, Texas are preparing for the potential of more rescue situations as the summer months approach.
Agents are typically busy during the summer months rescuing immigrants who have become lost or dehydrated as they try to circumvent the checkpoint in Falfurrias by walking through heat, humidity, and hundreds of miles of ranch land.
“At certain times of the year, this obviously is the priority because of the number of deaths that are happening right here,” said Doyle Amidon, the patrol agent in charge of the Falfurrias station.
This time last year, 27 people died near Falfurrias, according to numbers provided by Amidon. So far this year, 31 people have died.
“This is something that we deal with constantly here,” he said.
In order to prepare for increasing temperatures in the coming months, Sector Chief Manuel Padilla said the agency will reallocate resources and ensure rescue beacons that are equipped with water. Emergency help buttons will also be placed in areas with the highest calls for rescue.
Human rights organizations are also stepping in by setting up water stations of their own along common immigrant paths.
“People might not even approach [Border Patrol’s] beacons because they don’t want to get caught and they need water,” said Eddie Canales of the South Texas Human Right’s Center. “I think our water stations serve a purpose.”
U.S. Border Patrol plans to continue working with Central American consuls to warn Central Americans about the dangers of making the trek into the United States without authorization.