ROMA, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol Riverine agents patrolling the Rio Grande continue to save the lives of undocumented immigrants abandoned in the river by smugglers.
Early Thursday morning, agents assigned to the Rio Grande City Border Patrol Riverine Unit observed a raft in the Rio Grande near Roma, Texas. The raft was set adrift by smugglers from the Mexican riverbank and immediately taken by the river’s current. Agents reported the raft was in danger of capsizing due to being overloaded with 13 subjects and heading straight for the pillars underneath the Roma Port of Entry. Agents quickly intercepted the raft and escorted it to the U.S. Riverbank. Agents identified the 13 subjects as family units from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Hours later, the Riverine Unit observed another raft full of people illegally crossing the river. As the agents responded, the occupants of the boat jumped out and attempted to swim back to Mexico. One of the subjects quickly began to struggle to stay afloat. Agents immediately rushed to the drowning man and removed him from the water.
That evening, Riverine Units encountered three rafts filled with people who were stranded in the middle of the Rio Grande south of Roma, Texas. Agents escorted the rafts to the U.S. riverbank and took 18 subjects into custody. Prior to leaving the area, agents observed a fourth raft that was set adrift by smugglers from the Mexican riverbank. The raft was poorly inflated and overfilled with several individuals. Agents rushed to the raft before it capsized and took 17 subjects into custody.